Order of Industrial Heroism: St Christopher with the Holy Ghost

Eric Gill, 1882 - 1940

Order of Industrial Heroism: St Christopher with the Holy Ghost

Eric Gill 1882 - 1940


The figure of St Christopher on the right seen in profile to the left walking through a river holding a long wooden staff and carrying a child sat on his shoulders who holds an orb with a cross. A banner flies out behind the figures with an inscription. Behind the figures is a building in the distance with smoke billowing from a chimney. To the far left is a walled garden with a turret, above which flies a bird with lines at 90 degree angles surrounding its head. The smoke and the bird are in red ink. The Order of Industrial Heroism was a private civil award given by the Daily Herald newspaper between 1923-1964 (when the paper closed) to honour acts of heroism by ordinary workers. It was initiated in 1923 due to the public outcry that followed the meager reward received by workers who helped to control a serious dock fire in Liverpool. 440 awards were presented in total, many posthumously. Gill designed the medal in bronze with an image of St Christopher carrying Jesus as a baby. It was known as 'the workers' VC'. Gill produced this woodgraving at the start of the medal scheme. The individual images are (from left): The Rose of Jericho (physick 221)* Also known as the Resurrection Plant, it grows in the Dead Sea Vallery close to Jericho in the Judean Desert (the Holy Land). It has the amazing ability to preserve its seeds for years only to come alive again when receiving water. Jericho is depicted by its iconic ancient stone tower and the oldest known protective city wall in the world. The Holy Ghost as Dove (physick 224) St Christopher and Chimney Smoke (physick 220) St Christopher (meaning 'Christ Bearer' and the Patron Saint of Travellers) carried an unknown child across a dangerous river who then revealed himself as Christ. Christopher had wanted to serve the greatest King there was. He was told by a hermit to serve Christ by assisting people who were otherwise drowning to cross a river as this would please Christ. Wave (physick 222) * Physick Catalogue of the Engraved Work of Eric Gill

Object Name

Order of Industrial Heroism: St Christopher with the Holy Ghost

Creators Name

Eric Gill

Date Created



print: 12.8cm x 19.4cm
support: 14.2cm x 20.8cm

accession number


Place of creation





Wood Engraving


Gift of Mrs and Miss Rutherston, 1928


© Manchester Art Gallery

Fill out my online form.