Lead medal, 1517. Museum no. 172-1867

Lead medal, 1517. Museum no. 172-1867

Lead

Lead is a soft malleable metal that has been used for a variety of objects, ranging from outdoor statuary and garden ornaments to children's toys (painted lead soldiers). Lead was used for roofs and drainpipes because it is resistant to moisture. In good conditions, lead develops a dull grey oxide layer on the surface. If it is badly stored and exposed to acidic vapours, it can develop a whitish powdery corrosion product which is toxic. For this reason, care should be taken when handling lead.

Caring for your lead