A series of painted shields with the arms of livery Companies appeared in a West Midlands auction website earlier this year including one for the Gunmakers. They had apparently been taken down from Spitafields. Despite the good efforts of the Honorary Curator David Williams and Liveryman Mark O’Dowd, the shields were sold off in groups and disappeared into the trade. Some months later a Liveryman of the Haberdashers’ kindly alerted the Clerk to say their own Company shield had turned up with a dealer in the Brighton Lanes, along with the Gunmakers’. This time the Gunmakers’ shield was successfully acquired.
The original purpose of the shield remained a mystery but it was taken along to the East India Club and shown at the Gunmakers apprentices’ on 9 April as part of the Company’s display as shown here with Clerk Adrian Mundin and Assistant Clerk Alex Palacios.
In August, David Williams while looking at photographs in the Keith Neal archives suddenly recognised the shield as the one on the front of the Gunmakers’ – and Stationers and Newspaper Printers’ – barge on the Thames, The Maid of Kent, which took part in the Livery Companies river procession to celebrate the Coronation of Her Majesty the Queen in 1953 as shown in the picture below.