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Life Saving Medals

late 19th Century

They were awarded to William Unwin by the Salford Hundred Humane Society for rescuing people from the Ashton Canal in the 1890s.

William Unwin saved the lives of at least 29 people and was awarded a total of 4 gold medals and 4 silver medals by the Salford Hundred Humane Society in recognition of his heroic deeds.

Formed in 1789 the society set out to “reward persons who have shown courage and self devotion on occasions where life has been endangered by water, fire or other causes.”

The gold medal recognised that he put his own life in danger while rescuing the person. In one instance he pulled a boy out from beneath frozen water.

Articles in the Manchester Guardian reveal what was discussed at the committee meetings of the Society. In 1889 Unwin was described as being “as modest as he was brave…and in addition to the gold medal he received, an admirer of his bravery had sent him £1 and his employers had given him £5.” Another article four years later recorded that he had made several more rescues from the Ashton Canal.