Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


WYON, Benjamin: England, 1832, Bronze, 51 mm
Obv: Liberty, kneeling, handing a scroll inscribed REFORM to Britannia who stands before a plaque inscribed: GREY BROUGHAM ALTHORP RUSSELL, on which rests a medallion of WILLIAM THE [F]OURTH
Exergue: 2nd & 3rd WILLIAM IV
Rev: Legend within a wreath with crown on top and City of London shield.  Below:  REFORM IN THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE IN THE COMMONS HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT 1832
Signed: B. WYON
In original case of issue (see Appendix)
Issued by the Corporation of the City of London (#3)
Ref: Welch #3; Eimer 153/1254; BHM 384/1603;  Weiss BW666

The 1830s were a politically and socially tense period of British history. The working class and the middle class demanded fundamental changes, including Parliamentary Reform. The three Reform Acts, of 1832, 1867, and 1884, all extended voting rights to previously disenfranchised citizens. In 1832 Lord Grey and Henry Brougham met the king and asked him to create a large number of Wigg peers in order to get the Reform Bill passed in the House of Lords.This led to the passage of the first Reform act. This act was the most controversial as it reapportioned representation in Parliament in a way fairer to the cities of the industrial north, which had experienced tremendous growth. The act not only re-apportioned representation in Parliament, thus making that body more accurately represent the citizens of the country, but also gave the power of voting to those lower in the social and economic scale. For many conservatives, this effect of the bill, which allowed the middle classes to share power with the upper classes, was revolutionary in its import. Some historians argue that this transference of power achieved in England what the French Revolution achieved eventually in France.

The inscription on the obverse refers to Lord Grey, Henry Brougham, the statesman John Charles Spencer (Viscount Althrop), and Lord John Russell, all of whom were instrumental in the passage of this Act.

Exactly which is the obverse and which is the reverse of this medal has not been consistently agreed upon.  The form used in this site is that shown in Welch.