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ID number:  BIRRC-H0018
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  University Heritage Collection
Artist / Maker:  Unknown
Title / Object name:  Commemorative medallion
Object type:  Medal
Date made:  1880
Measurements:  5 cm diameter
H0018 (1).jpg

A circular medallion in a presentation box. The medallion shows Sir Josiah Mason’s head engraved on the obverse and Mason Science College on the reverse. It is in its original box. The coin has the name of the architect who designed the building, Jethro A. Cossins, underneath the image of the College. This medallion shows Sir Josiah Mason’s head engraved on the obverse and Mason Science College on the reverse. It is in its original box. The coin has the name of the architect who designed the building, Jethro A. Cossins, underneath the image of the College. THe presentation box has a velvet and satin blue lining, and the outside is brown (possibly immitation) leather. A small metal clasp opens and closes the box.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Reverse: 'FIRST STONE LAID FEB. XXIII MDCCCLXXV AND OPENED OCT.I MDCCCXXX BY SIR JOSIAH MASON'
Obverse : 'THE FOUNDER OF THE ALMSHOUSES AND ORPHANAGE AT ERDINGTON & SCIENCE COLLEGE BIRMINGHAM'
'SIR JOSIAH MASON'
'BORN FEB. XXIII MDCCXCV'

Notes:  This medallion commemorates the opening of Mason Science College, the precursor to the University of Birmingham. The college was founded in 1875 by Sir Josiah Mason, a local philanthropist and industrialist.

Jethro A. Cossins (1829-1917) was the architect of Mason Science College, and was responsible for the design of several important buildings in Birmingham including the Birmingham and Midlands Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital. During the late 1890s he went into partnership with F.B. Peacock and Ernest Bewley, with whom he designed and built the Midland Institute. Cossins visited the principal science colleges in England and on the Continent before preparing his plans for Mason Science College in the Gothic style.

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