Researching the Society’s Archive
The principal source of information relating to life saving events will be found in the case books. (Additional information may be found in the committee minutes and the annual reports).
Note that all records of awards granted by the Society are written up in the case books (1823 onwards) in order of the date the committee reviewed the case and then by the allotted case number which references the name(s) of the awardee(s). Therefore, when trying to trace the details of an award granted by the Society, to facilitate your own research or that done for you by the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) or the Royal Humane Society (RHS), you’ll need the following information.
- the name of the recipient
- either the case number, the date the award was granted (committee meeting date) or the date of the event.
With the above information, you should view the relevant case book at the LMA (you will need to consult their catalogue) and when you have the case book look at the index pages (generally in the front of the book). Search the appropriate page (e.g. if the name is ‘Smith’ search the ‘S’ index page). This will give you one or more possible candidates and their case numbers – with this information you will be able to find the correct case summary.
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 awards are being researched.
There are three options for undertaking the above research:
- Personal visit to the LMA. To obtain information from the archive you’ll need to go to the LMA, obtain a history card (identity is required) and then you will be able to view the case book. The case books contain information that is subject to data protection, so for cases that are less than 100 years old the LMA have a strict data protection policy and normally these records are closed. You would need to contact them (firstname.lastname@example.org) to understand if you would be allowed access. This is usually granted for close family members.
- LMA to provide the information. If you are unable to visit the LMA, then subject to the above, they would provide you with the information but they will charge a research fee (see their website for details).
- RHS to provide the information. Alternatively, we could research this for you and send scanned/photographed details of the entries in the case book, redacting those details not relevant to your enquiry. We would ask for a donation for this service.
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.