I write to you as the newly-elected Chairman of the Gunmakers Company Charitable Trust (GCCT). Many of you will know me from the Livery, and from my previous roles as Chairman of James Purdey & Sons and founder of GunsOnPegs. Having spent much of my working life in the British gun trade, I am dedicated to both gunmaking and the shooting world.
I hope in my new role to nurture, conserve and promote the craft skills which are the life blood of gunmaking, and in so doing help this most traditional of industries to emerge stronger and positioned for a more sustainable future in the twenty-first century.
Since becoming Chairman of the GCCT, my colleagues and I have undertaken some changes which we believe will enable the Trust to be more effective in supporting the art of gunmaking. This bulletin is to inform you about what we’ve done, share our successes with you, and hopefully, to gain your support. If you are already a support of the GCCT, then I thank you for your support.
Specifically, the GCCT needs three things:
Money. In response to demand, we are looking to increase the number of apprentices we support each year, and to broaden the range of support we provide to gunmakers. We need more money to do that.
Mentors. The development of each apprentice is guided by an experienced gunmaker, or a person who has the requisite skills to be a mentor, normally a volunteer from among our rank and file. While the time commitment is not vast, the positive impact on a young person’s life can be vast, not to mention the relationship being built with our Livery, which one day we hope they might join.
We need more experienced gunmakers, or those with appropriate suitable skills, to serve both as mentors to apprentices in training, but also as judges on the Certification Panel, which recognises the achievements of apprentices at the conclusion of their training. Clearly to judge gunmaking skill one would need to be an experienced, recognised gunmaker.
Volunteers. The 13 Trustees of the GCCT bring with them a broad range of competences in a range of gunmaking, engineering, ballistics, finance, the law, and fundraising. However, we are always looking for new abilities, talent, enthusiasm and commitment.
We hope that you can help us to help the trade if you feel that you might suit any of the above. Please either contact me directly or our Clerk.
The Gunmakers Company Charitable Trust recently reviewed its objectives and organisation. Formed in 2003 with the principle aim of supporting and developing the craft skills associated with traditional gunmaking, its objects have broadened and are as follows:
- To promote, for the public benefit, the improvement of tangible and intangible craft and technical skills employed in the gun and allied trades and in associated crafts, by the provision of scholarships for the advancement of education of persons involved in these trades and crafts;
- To relieve individuals connected to the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers and their families, who are in need by the provision of grants;
- To provide grants for any charitable purposes connected with the making, usage, conservation and curatorship of guns;
- To provide grants for charitable purposes connected with the City of London or other places in which the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers is situated.
While not revolutionary, the broadening of our remit will enable us to support more directly people in the trade undergoing temporary hardship, and curators who help to preserve the traditions of gunmaking in their collections.
We are most fortunate to have a wide range of skill sets with the current Trustees, but we also welcome applications from any walk of life if you feel that you can add value to the Trust. For example, mentorship of apprentices is a vital part of our role, which as we grow in our activities requires a number of willing and able mentors to assist.
There are now 13 Trustees, organised as follows:
Management Group : James Horne (Chairman), Richard Hefford Hobbs, Mike Venables and Adrian Mundin (Clerk)
Finance: Jason Dalley, Harry Burnham, Adam Anthony
Bursaries: Richard Hefford Hobbs, George Yannaghas, Helen Jones (Co-opt Simon West)
Fund Raising: Mike Venables, Diana Berry, Edward King, David Newman
Communications: James Horne, John Browning, Mike Venables, Richard Hefford Hobbs (Co-opted Jonathan Young)
If you would like to offer yourself as a potential Trustee please contact Adrian Mundin, Secretary to the Trust and Clerk to the Gunmakers’ Company.
The GCCT has recently extended its bursary programme for apprentices from 3 years to 4 years following an extensive survey of previous recipients. New applications have been received from Roy Martin Gunsmiths and James Purdey and Sons Ltd
The Trustees surveyed a variety of gunmakers – large and small, north, and south – to enquire if the terms of the bursaries could be improved. While the respondents were generally satisfied with the amount of the bursary – now set at £5,000 a year – they did indicate that a longer term would be useful. So future GCCT bursaries will be awarded for a period of four years rather than the current three, with a progress and continuation review after two years.
The GCCT currently supports five bursaries at any one time. However, the research indicated that more bursaries were needed to ensure that the gunmaking industry moves towards a more sustainable future. From the research, demand for further bursaries was strong.
Recent applications have been received from Roy Martin, of Roy Martin Gunsmith, incorporating Charles Smith & Sons, a well-known Newark gunmaker, and James Purdey & Sons Ltd of Audley House in London’s Mayfair, one of Britain’s oldest and most respected gunmakers.
To support the expansion of the number of bursaries, the GCCT needs two things: money and mentors. Our current finances can prudently support a maximum of five bursaries at one time. All support from the livery would be much appreciated, and more importantly, help us to meet the growing demand for the training support we provide.
The GCCT also needs appropriate mentors from our Livery, men, or women with gunmaking or appropriate skills, who can provide the time and willingness to give the benefit of their skills and experience to newcomers to the craft. Mentors should offer oversight, guidance and ensure that the firm submits regular reports on the apprentice’s progress to the Trust; however, they are removed from the regulatory aspects of the training and employment. The time commitment is not onerous, but we do ask that the commitment is taken seriously.
Please get in touch with our Clerk or the Chairman of the GCCT if you would like to know more about being a mentor.
The GCCT has conducted a review of its finances and has transferred its investments from Investec to the CCLA. Our goal is to increase our available cash from fundraising to double the number of bursaries given each year from 5 to 10 apprentices.
A recent review of our finances has led the Trust to move its funds to the CCLA (Churches, Charities and Local Authorities) Investment Management. The group was founded in 1958 to manage the Church of England Investment fund, and focuses entirely on charities, religious organisations, and the public sector. It is independently owned by its clients with £11.3 billion of assets currently under management.
The GCCT’s assets are relatively modest, around £500,000 . The income from them does not cover our expenditures. However, these funds do provide a reserve to ensure that we can honour our commitments. We are confident that CCLA Will prove to be the best custodian of our investments and generate the best possible return for the Trust.
The Certification Panel
Why do we have a Certification panel? In order to mark their graduation at the end of their apprenticeship, candidates from across the trade, whether bursary holders or not, are able to apply to the Certification Panel for their work to be examined, and, if deemed suitable, awarded a certificate of achievement.
Another aspect of the GCCT’s work is to promote gunmaking skills through the Certification Panel. To mark an apprentices graduation, at the end of their training, candidates from across the trade, whether bursary holders or not, are able to apply to the Certification Panel for their work to be examined, and if deemed suitable awarded a certificate of achievement.
Candidates are accompanied by their employer, are interviewed about their time in the trade and the skills they have acquired through their learning. The Panel inspects the work presented and discusses with the candidate the challenges of their gunmaking experience.
The Company’s Certification Panel comprises of the panel Chairman, and at least six members drawn from the Court and Livery, all of whom must be practising or retired gunmakers with recognised experience in assessing the skills associated with the art of gunmaking, and additionally in measuring and judging standards of workmanship. Currently we have a well-balanced mix of twelve master craftsmen and gunmaking company directors covering all the trade’s craft areas – stockers, engravers, barrel makers, actioners etc…
Following a successful submission, the newly qualified journeymen, are then invited back to the Proof House, often with family members, to receive certificates and enjoy a celebratory glass of champagne with the Master. After years of graft and learning, the apprentices greatly appreciate an opportunity to have their work inspected, critiqued, and approved by those established in their trade – and to be accepted into the fellowship of the art of gunmaking craft.
We have made some delicate revisions to our GCCT logo.Our logo has undergone some modest revision with the addition of lines above and below our name to convey the shape of a barrel along with a sight bead. The base of the device shaped like the letter ‘G’ is akin to the trigger and guard of a gun.
Finally, read …here… are some words about the Trust from our Master, Mr Daryl Greatrex.