The Kew Guild Medal

David F. CutlerDavid F. Cutler

It is hard to believe it is 15 years since I first suggested to the Kew Guild Committee that we should consider having a medal struck to recognise people of outstanding merit in topics close to the interests of the Guild. The Committee set up a small working group to develop the idea. On the basis of their report it was agreed to go ahead because the initiative was seen to ‘raise the profile of the Guild, to recognise personal achievements and spend the money of the Guild in a wise and constructive manner.’

The initial criteria devised by the working group have been revised since they were first set out, and the most recent revision, in 2018, states them as follows:

“The Medal is awarded for outstanding merit in the furtherance of one or more fields of interest of members of the Kew Guild. For example: Scientific or amenity horticulture, Plant systematic research, Plant or habitat conservation and Horticultural Education. Other relevant fields of interest can be considered. The recipient need not be a member of the Guild.”

It was agreed that the Medal should be presented at the Annual Dinner or the Annual General Meeting unless the recipient or their representative is unable to attend, when other arrangements can be made. It was also agreed that normally the Medal should be awarded every two or three years, and exceptionally on consecutive years. However, as you can read below, there was no shortage of suitable candidates and after 2014 a medal has been awarded in each of the following years. Kewite Anthony Ross was invited to design the medal, and although somewhat taken aback by the request, consulted a medal die and engraving specialist company in Twickenham about practical matters and put his considerable skills to producing the exquisite medal. A first batch of ten was struck. The medal is silver gilt, weighs 50g, is 50mm in diameter and 2.5mm thick. The 2006 Journal cover showed the Medal, together with a short article by Anthony Ross on page 78 of same.

Initially the nominations for the medal were made by a Medal Awards Sub-Committee. This consisted of the President of the Guild with John Simmons, John Edmundson, Prof. Gren Lucas, Dr. Thomas S. Elias, David Hardman and David Cutler (Secretary). This functioned very effectively, but in due course the members of the Kew Guild Committee decided that they should take full responsibility for receiving and deciding on the nominations and the Sub-Committee members were thanked for their work and the Sub-Committee was disbanded. I continued to be responsible for seeing the process through the Guild Committee until I retired from this role in 2019.

Nominations are most welcome from all members of the Guild and should be sent to the Kew Guild President. It is very important that when making nominations you shouldn’t tell the nominees! Medalists up to the time of writing are as follows:

2007 Roy Lancaster, 2009 Raymond Desmond, 2010 Alan Barber, 2012 Noel McGough, 2014 Sir David Attenborough, 2015 Christopher Brickell, 2016 Alan Titchmarsh, 2017 Christopher Beardshaw, 2018 Martin Duncan, 2019 Laurie Olin.

I would like to add my thanks to Richard Ward for his help in gathering data for the article.

Peter Styles – We have recently received ten new medals. We used a mint through our Welshpool printers so thereby keeping things in house so to speak and making it easier for ordering.

Spec is: Design and Development – 50mm Obverse @ £940.00, 50mm Reverse @ £780.00, 10 off H M Silver, 2.5mm thick Collar Medal, gilt finish, in a standard presentation case 50mm @ £196.00 each. These were provided by Toye Kenning and Spencer Ltd, London. They are by Royal Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen and the medals were cast in their factory in the  Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.