An exceptionally rare medal from Watford's Victorian asylum days is attracting great interest at a Suffolk auctioneers.

The British Orphanage Asylum silver medal, presented in Watford in 1878, is with Lockdales of Martlesham ready for sale on May 16.

Auction manager James Sadler said: "I’ve never seen such a medal before in all my years in this business. It’s so unusual."

It was presented to a member of staff at the London Orphan Asylum facility at Watford for good conduct and proficiency.

The front of the medal, which has a Lockdales catalogue guide price of £100 to £120, shows a man comforting a distressed woman. The medal comes in a case with a torn ribbon.

The asylum had previously been located in Clapton but it had a poor health record among its young residents.

A site near Watford Junction at what is now Reeds Crescent, was chosen as the best site for the new asylum, as being "a healthy town in a proverbially healthy county", and a site on a hill near the railway station was purchased, and the foundation-stone of the new building was laid by his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in 1869.

During its day the asylum boasted the Earl of Essex, the Earl of Clarendon, the Earl of Verulam and Lord Ebury among its presidents.