designed to refute the claims by Jean-Pierre Droz that the
performance of Soho Mint was a result of his inventions
● 'Our' Matthew Boulton, the second of that name in line, was a complex man who,
if he had not been an industrialist, would have been considered to be very much a
Renaissance Man. Interested in many and varied processes and techniques, he was the
friend and colleague of some of the Eighteenth Century's greatest innovators. The
main milestones in his career are tabulated in a Timeline.
● Our first paper considers Matthew Boulton in the light of his numismatic achievements.
'Who Was Matthew Boulton? And Why Should We Care?' is by Dr Richard G Doty, author
of the standard work 'The Soho Mint and the Industrialisation of Money.' It traces
the intellectual development of industrial money, and why the modern world should
be grateful for Boulton's innovations.
● Only a month after Boulton's death, his partner James Watt put pen to paper to
record his impressions of the great man. Modern research suggests that in some instances
Watt's memory wasn't as good as it might have been, or perhaps that the wish was
father to the thought. However, the ‘Memorandum Concerning Mr Boulton’ is the text
that appeared at the time.
● Boulton was in many ways both a product of his time, and in advance of it. Paternalistic,
yet the originator of a scheme of social insurance which was an example not built
on for more than a hundred years. See the terms and conditions of the Soho Insurance
● One of the principal reasons which Matthew Boulton advanced to persuade the British
Government to award the contract for regal copper coinage to Soho Mint was the inimitable
quality of its products. We can but imagine the chagrin felt by Boulton when, only
a matter of weeks after the appearance of the Cartwheel coins, competent forgeries
began to appear. Not withstanding his seventy years, Sheriff Boulton was on the case.
This is his own account, sent to the Government in January 1799.
● Soho was the depositary for a considerable stock of precious metals and moneys,
at various times, yet there do not seem to be many recorded attempts at organised
theft. There was one, however, when a group of malefactors planned to steal the Soho
employees’ Christmas Bonuses...but they were foiled by an honest watchman and a posse
organised by Mr Boulton himself.