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ID number:  BIRRC-H0019
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  University Heritage Collection
Artist / Maker:  Birmingham Guild of Handicrafts
Title / Object name:  Commemorative key
Object type:  Key
Date made:  1900
Materials:  Brass, velvet, satin
Measurements:  L of key: 21.5 cm. Box: 27 x 12.5 x 3 cm

Ceremonial key used by King Edward VII at the opening ceremony in the Great Hall. There are many elaborate features of the key relating to both the University and the King. More specifically there are two large royal insignias worked into the key at the top and bottom and the top of the key is linked to the inscribed stem via a University of Birmingham shield. The walking (passant) crowned lion at the very top of the key is a heraldic symbol used largely in military decoration. This key is a perfect example of the strong tradition of metalwork in Birmingham. Matthew Boulton, a prominent 18th century engineer, best illustrates this through the achievements of his professional life, such as the establishment of the Birmingham Mint in the Jewellery Quarter.

In hinged leather case, with velvet and satin lining. Closing mechanism is broken.

Inscriptions / Translations:  'The Birmingham University on front shaft of key. 'July 7th 1909.

Notes:  Condition: verdigris corrosion to case lining on top right hand side. Right hand hinge is broken. Clasp is broken. Key is corroded to brown

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