The AA Archives have recently acquired the earliest known example of an AA medallion, dating from 1881.
This bronze medal was awarded to William Alfred Pite (1860-1949) as part of the 1881 AA Travelling Scholarship, which also comprised of the sum of £20 be spent on a minimum of 5 weeks of travel, taken in the AA recess. On completion of his foreign tour, Pite would have presented a travel journal and drawings to the AA Council, before being presented with his medallion. Unfortunately none of these records are known to have survived and we have no indication as to locations Pite visited. William Pite went on to act as editor for the AA Sketch Book and had a successful career in practice – Kings College Hospital, Denmark Hill being amongst his better known. His brother, Prof. Arthur Beresford Pite, also studied at the AA and was AA President in 1896-7 and Professor of Architecture at the Royal College of Art from 1900-1923.
In an attempt to re-invigorate the AA’s Design Class, the AA Council decided in 1878 to revamp its system of annual awards and prizes. As part of these changes, an ‘AA Silver Medal’ was introduced, with bronze medals being added as an extra stimulus a few years later. The design for the obverse of the medals was based upon George Truefitt’s 1851 monogram for the AA and the dies were cast by the highly respected firm of Wyon brothers, costing the AA council the princely sum of £25. This medallion, now joins a large collection of AA related medals and badges held within the Archives, including the below Presidential badge, designed in 1913 by New Sculpture leading light Edouard Lanteri (188-1917):