Historical information

The Registration Act 1836 established the General Register Office and a new system of national registration of births, marriages and deaths to take effect from 1837. There was a need to set up a system to record births, to aid with the planning of services and to record deaths to enable further study on the causes of mortality.

The accurate recording of births and deaths was to be a vital tool in improving population health and would later enable systematic interventions such as vaccination, as well as aiding research and data analysis. ('1836 Registration Act')

Physical description

Round silver medallion with presentation case. Front of medal features portraits of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in profile. Text encircling the portraits reads 'BIRTHS & DEATHS REGISTRATION & MARRIAGES ACTS". Back of medal carries a lit torch design at centre, encircled by the text "BIRTH . MARRIAGE . DEATH". Presentation case is a square, green, leather box with cream satin and beige velvet lining. There is a central depression within the case in which the medallion sits. Text printed on upper surface of box lid reads "B.D. and M./CENTENARY/1837-1937". Royal Mint insignia stamped in gold inside lid.