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Forgotten hero remembered at World Museum

27 June 2008 by Sam

In the latest of our ‘hidden treasures’ displays, two exceedingly rare gold medals crafted by Tiffany and Co of New York have gone on display at World Museum Liverpool for the very first time. The medals commemorate the role of forgotten hero Captain Joseph Dayman RN  in one of the most important naval expeditions of the Victorian age.

gold medal

In the summer of 1858 Dayman commanded HMS Gorgon, a support vessel involved in the joint British-American attempt to lay the first transatlantic telegraph cable. The Navy assigned the Gorgon to assist the Niagara, the American ship laying half of the cable. Early in the attempt the officers recognised that the Niagara was off course.  Commander Dayman successfully guided the Niagara to its destination in Newfoundland. A reporter on the Niagara noted that Dayman did not sleep for five days during this time. Without his attention the project would have failed. 

In recognition of Joseph Dayman’s contribution the Common Council of New York and the City of New York commissioned medals for him from Tiffany’s. The medal awarded by the City of New York (shown here) is one of only nine large gold medals they commissioned. The other medal on display is one of only three medals ever awarded by the Common Council. It is decorated with a gilded piece of the telegraph cable around the edge.

You can see the medals in the atrium at World Museum Liverpool for the next 2 weeks. There isn’t a confirmed closing date for the display yet so please check with the information desk – 0151 478 4393 – nearer the time if you don’t want to miss them.

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