Researching the Society’s Archive
Our records (pre-2006) are no longer in our office having been gifted to the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA). The principal records recording details of rescues / resuscitations are the Case Books later Case Files. These case documents contain a summary of the original papers, reports etc. that would have been provided to the Society to support the nomination. The Secretary’s job was (and still is) to write this summary and enter this in the Case Files. Each file has a unique case number.
Sadly, the original papers have long since been destroyed so the Case Books / Files are now the principal surviving official record of the rescue. These will contain details of the rescue (i.e. time, place, date), who was involved (i.e. names of the rescuers and those rescued), the name of the person who sent in the nomination, the type of award given and where, and to who, the award was sent.
Obtaining the information
There are three options for obtaining the information.
a) Personal visit to the LMA
You will need, as a minimum a) the approximate date of the rescue; b) the name of the rescuer(s); c) the case number (not essential but helpful for finding the case).
If the records are less than 100 years old the LMA have a strict data protection policy and normally these records are closed. You would need to speak to them to see if they would allow you access, which is normally given to close relatives or bona fide researchers. (Note: RHS does have access to these records).
With the above information you should then view the relevant Case Book / File at the LMA by ordering this via the LMA catalogue and viewing at the LMA. Note: these documents have not been digitised.
When you have the case book then, if you have the case number, you can go directly to the relevant page. If you only have the name of the rescuer, then first go to the index page at the front of the Case Book / File, find the rescuer’s name and against this will be the case number. Then proceed as above.
You may also wish to look in the Committee Minutes and the Annual Reports for further information (again, consult the LMA catalogue to identify the relevant documents). This particularly applies when pre-1823 cases are being researched.
b) LMA to provide the information
If you are unable to visit the LMA, then subject to the above, they would provide you with all the information in the case, but they will charge a research fee (see their website for details).
c) RHS to provide the information
Other Research Sources
Published works for RHS awards
Acts of Gallantry by Lambton Young, C E – The Gold and Silver Medals and Clasps awarded 1830 to 1871
Acts of Gallantry, Vol II by William H Fevyer – Stanhope Medals (1873 to 1950), Silver Medals (1870 to 1950),
Acts of Gallantry, Vol III by W.H. Fevyer and Craig P Barclay – Stanhope Medals (1951 to 2000), Silver Medals (1951 to 2000), Citations for all Bronze Medals with Clasps (1869 to 2000)
Life Saving Awards Research Society (LSARS) – ‘www.lsars.org.uk’ – The Society has an online list of the RHS Bronze Medals (1837 to 2000) which identifies recipients by case number. Some details of the event for which they received their awards are given for the period 1892 to 1918.