A Tribute to Queen Victoria from The Denaby Main Colliery Company.

Obverse and reverse designs of a white metal alloy medal (38.5 mm) of 1887.

The above medal was struck by Brookes & Adams of Birmingham (denoted by their usual "B&A" makers mark) to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. This medal forms part of a large series of at least 300 different examples most of which were issued in the names of British towns, boroughs and urban district councils as well as some commercial organisations. However, the one shown above is different in that it is the only known example to have been issued by a Colliery Company. A description of the medal, which is pierced for suspension from a bar and ribbon, is given below;

Obv: Diademed and veiled portrait of Queen Victoria facing left. Makers mark on truncation of bust reads B&A. Legend around edge reads VICTORIA QUEEN AND EMPRESS.

Rev: Legend around edge reads DENABY MAIN COLLIERY COMPANY and is punctuated by ornamental decoration. A legend in four lines within the field reads QUEEN VICTORIA’S / JUBILEE / CELEBRATION / JUNE 21. 1887.

Although this medal design is unique in the fact that it is the only one so far known for the 1887 Jubilee to have been issued by a colliery company it can not be too rare as I have seen at least two examples turn up at NMMA swop meets over the last couple of years.

The medal in question was issued in the name of the Denaby Main Coal Company (DMCC). No doubt it was one of many similar pieces distributed by the company to its employees to commemorate Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations. The DMCC owned and operated two separate collieries in South Yorkshire. By considering the respective sinking dates of these two pits it is possible to ascribe the issuing location of the above medal to the colliery village of Denaby alone.

The first pit to be sunk by the DMCC was Denaby Main in 1863. This colliery was located a few miles due west of Doncaster. The main coal seam, the "Barnsley Bed", was reached at this pit in 1867. The DMCC went on to sink a further colliery, Cadeby Main, in 1889. This second pit was located at Cadeby, just south of Denaby. The "Barnsley Bed" was reached at this latter pit in 1893. Shortly after 1889 the Coal Company changed its name to the Denaby & Cadeby Main Colliery Company Ltd.

Denaby Main Colliery c.1914.

Denaby Main Colliery closed in 1968. Its sister pit at Cadeby closed 20 years later. The early development of Denaby owes much, if not all, to the activities of the DMCC. The company owned most of the houses in the town together with the Denaby Main Hotel on Doncaster Road.

Examples of a pre 1947 brass Pay Check (31 mm) from Cadeby Main and a post 1947 (N.C.B. issue) aluminium Lamp Check (23 mm by 45 mm) from Denaby Main Collieries. Both Uniface.

 I am aware of one other royal commemorative medal issued by a colliery company. This second example, from North Wales, was issued in celebration of the coronation of George VI in 1937. This piece, unlike the last, has already been published. An example is shown and described below;

A gilt (?) brass presentation medal issued by Point of Ayr Colliery Ltd. to commemorate the 1937 coronation  of King George VI  (41mm by 31mm).

Obv: Crowned and conjoined busts of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth facing left. Legend within circular border around reads H. M. KING GEORGE VI & H.M. QUEEN ELIZABETH. Legend above and below border reads CORONATION / MAY 12TH 1937

Rev: Legend in centre of field reads PRESENTED / BY / POINT OF AYR / COLLIERY / a LTD a

Reproduced from an article in NMMA Newsletter No.13, Spring 1999. © Mark Smith.

Previous     Home