As museum volunteer Callum Pears carried out research on objects soon to be loaned to Strode’s College, hidden amongst a number of miscellaneous items, he discovered the then mysterious medal that had everyone confused. The Tuesday museum volunteer group began to research the item through the various details that we could identify. Noting the striking crown and Tudor like roses, we believed that it must be military related. This was eventually proven incorrect and was uniquely a political medal.
Ironically a random image on Google Images lead us to identify the medal from the Latin inscription which we had searched in Google. The image led us to a page selling a similar medal on the online auction site eBay which provided the description above and most crucially we established that the medal was commemorative for the Primrose League. From this point we were able to search the Primrose League and find an abundance of further information. Some of this information follows:
The Primrose League was created to promote Conservative values and the Conservative Party to Britain. It was in particular to promote ‘Tory Democracy’.
It actively allowed and encouraged women as full members of the League.
A prominent member was Lord Randolph Churchill (father of Sir Winston Churchill).
The League was open to all classes. Only people who were considered enemies of the British Empire were excluded along with atheists. This may have been owing to Disraeli’s early Jewish ancestry and later Anglican beliefs. However, it may more likely be due to the Victorian distain for atheism and (as they believed) that it would cause the disintegration of society by removing the moral cement that held it together. The reason for excluding atheists however remains, like the League itself, vague.
Ironically the League, despite its strong political origin had very little to with politics and its ambitions and motives are often described as vague, contributing to our own early confusion over the medal.
For further details on the Primrose league, note the sources bellow for further reading or simply search the Primrose League in Google.
See http://www.ebay.ie/itm/ORIGINAL-SPECIAL-SERVICE-MEDAL-1895-PRIMROSE-LEAGUE-BENJAMIN-DISRAELI-BOXED-/380748434197 (the original eBay post with the description taken and used above.)
Seehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/charlesmoore/7983677/A-vast-loyal-band-of-working-class-Conservatives.html (Great amount of detail on the Primrose League and particularly the link with the Churchills)