Imperial Yard Measure
This Imperial Yard Measure is inscribed ‘Parish of St Mary, Paddington.’, ‘Thomas Herbert, Maker, Grays Inn Road, London.’. The yard is stamped for Queen Victoria (crown over 'VR'), with the 'portcullis' Exchequer verification mark, and has ‘1422’ inscribed at each end.
In 1824, an Act of Parliament under George IV defined the standard yard. This new yard became the first imperial standard and was in reality a standard that had been commissioned by the Royal Society in 1742, which in turn had been based on an earlier Elizabethan standard.
This yard had a very short life, as in 1834 it was damaged in a fire that burned down both Houses of Parliament. A new standard was eventually legalised in 1855 and was based on unofficial standards that had been compared to the Imperial Yard before it was damaged.
The firm’s letter book contains a copy of the following quotation dated March 2nd 1861. Why we now have the brass yard in our possession is not recorded!
St. Mary Paddington
I hereby agree to perform the undermentioned work, and supply the following articles of the best material and workmanship, also prepare the same for Verification, & stamping at the Exchequer, attending at the Exchequer, and paying all. To provide 1 Set new solid metal, Standard Measures, from 1 Bushell to ˝ Gill, 1 New Standard brass yard measure, and engrave the same, To clean make heavier, adjust, and prepare, the set of Standard Weights from 56lb to 1lb, Provide 1 New set and engrave same from ˝lb to ˝ dram.
To repair adjust Paint and Gild, 2 Large Box End Beams, of Large, scales and New steel, same clean scales, and chain and balance same, To clean New Steel Adjust 1 Bright Box End Beam Clean Scales and chain and Balance Provide 1 New bright steeled Box end beam brass chains for scales used by Jury.
To repair and recast all the stamps and brands and furnish new ones where required to complete the sets. Repair and Mend box for depositing Scales, provide new skin case for small weights and leather bag for small measures for Jury and complete the above as required by the new weight and measure act for the sum of sixty two pounds.
£62 – 0 – 0.
NB As far as possible the above copies the spelling, punctuation, use of capital letters, etc used in the original letter.
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