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image SDR21.9

Medal stuck in honour of Sir John Rennie to mark the opening of the Basin and docks at Sheerness, 1823, by William Bain, silver.

Inscription: JOHN RENNIE
Inscription: BASIN AND DOCKS AT SHEERNESS BEGUN JANUARY XIX MDCCCXIV OPENED SEPTEMB. V MDCCCXXIII.

Museum number: SDR21.9

Curatorial note

The obverse of this medal is a bare head of John Rennie (1794–1874), later Sir John (he was knighted in 1831). The reverse is an aerial view of the Sheerness docks with below it a section showing the stern of a ship in dry dock, named HMS Howe.

This medal was struck to commemorate the opening of the Great Basin at Sheerness Dockyard by the Duke of Clarence, later King William IV, on the 5th September 1823. This was a part of the great rebuild of the dockyard that lasted from 1823-1830. Rennie was responsible for designing the new dock as engineer to the Admiralty.

HMS Howe was a First Rate line-of-battle ship of 120 guns, one of the most modern and powerful ships of the Royal Navy at the time. She features on this commemorative medal not just because of her value as part of the Fleet, but because she was drydocked at Sheerness on 5th September 1823 (for renewal of her copper sheathing), thus inaugurating the new dock.


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk