The Gunmakers’ Company Charitable Trust was formed in 2003 with the principle aim of supporting the craft skils associated with traditional gunmaking. Since then, 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.
The British sporting gun industry stands at the intersection of two worlds. Its past is in the traditional crafts – intricate woodwork for a hand-finished gun stock, high precision hand-work to fit actions and to regulate barrels, and fine metal engraving for the action. Its present is in high-tech. Without computer-controlled metalworking machinery, it would be impossible to make parts of the strength and precision required for modern guns, particularly at an affordable price. Finding craftsmen who can straddle these worlds is difficult. The Trust is focusing, therefore, not only on providing opportunities for newcomers to acquire craft skills, but also on helping experienced craftsmen to learn the requisite technical skills that are increasingly necessary, if British gun making is to compete successfully in the 21st century.
In 2007 a bursary scheme was established to support members of the gun trade wishing to employ apprentices. Typically, for a successful application, a grant is up to £5,000 per annum for 4 years in respect of each apprentice or trainee. Our experience is that this level of support overcomes the initial economic obstacles faced by employers wanting to bring new recruits into gun making. After all, the apprentice is not at first fully productive, and the employer loses further productivity due to the time devoted to training. A small craft workshop can ill afford either. A trustee is appointed to mentor each apprentice and to monitor his or her progress.
Certificates and awards
To recognise and promote excellence in gunmaking, the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers sponsors both a certificate and an award scheme. The certificate denotes a mastery of the craft. Working gunmakers are encouraged to submit a sample of their work to a panel of master gunmakers, and if it is judged to be of a professional standard, the applicant is awarded Gunmakers’ Certificate to attest to his or her abilities. Truly outstanding work will be considered for the McMillan Trophy, which is awarded periodically to recognise excellence. Prize winners will also receive a silver medal and certificate.
Other charitable activities
The Trust provides a range of smaller grants for training, travel and education for those working in gunmaking and allied trades. Funding is also provided for the training of conservators working in arms, armour and other metals. In addition, the Trust makes grants to people connected with the gun trade who are in distress.
The Trust also awards a limited number of one-off grants to charitable activities connected with the City of London and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
Applications for a training bursary or the award of Gunmakers’ Certification should be submitted in writing to the Secretary to the Trustees, GCCT, The Proof House, 48-50 Commercial Road, London E1 1PL or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in supporting the work of the Gunmakers’ Company Charitable Trust, or in finding out more about how we support apprentices, please
email Adrian Mundin, or write to the Secretary to the Trustees, GCCT, The Proof House, 48-50 Commercial Road, London E1 1LP.
Alternatively, download a pledge form …here…, and send you donation or Direct Debit mandate to the Secretary. Making a pledge in your Will is also an efficient way of supporting charitable endeavour; download details …here…
The Gunmakers’ Company Charitable Trust is a registered charity, number: 1100227