The East India Club in St James’ Square was host to a multitude of the finest craftsmen and women from across the UK last Tuesday, coordinated by the Shooting Section under Mr Sanjay Bhattacharya and Mr Richard Hobbs. The evening began with an opportunity for Club members to question and learn from all the people involved in the making of their guns – whether it was with rifle makers Mayfair Engineering, or with master Barrel Makers Bill Blacker & Son. All facets of the gunmaking world were on show – engraving (by Ruth Anthony), stocking, action making and more, ranging from the long established gunmaking firms – Rigby & Co, Holland & Holland and Watson Bros – who all make custom shotguns and rifles from start to finish – to the smaller independent makers, such as JP Daeschler. All brought along their apprentices, numbering 10 in total, who were eager to show their work and skills. They did an excellent job communicating their passion for the crafts to the 50 members there on the day, explaining their learning and the importance of maintaining this historic craft. Perhaps the most popular guns on the day were 28-bores, featured by both Watson Bros and JP Daeschler – very lithe, quick handling guns. The Rigby “Rising Bite”, a historic (and now resurrected) design was also on show, alongside plenty of other fine firearms.
The event was formally introduced by the Master of the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers, Mrs Diana Berry. It was the section’s great pleasure to have herself and the Company in attendance on the day, explaining the traditional role of the proof house, as well as the support given by the Gunmakers Company Charitable Trust to many of the apprentices present in the room. Indeed, the GCCT was the charitable focus of the evening, with almost £500 being raised on the day for the Trust. Excellent game canapes from the club chefs (memorably including a squirrel pasty) alongside fine champagne courtesy of Anthony Byrne Fine Wines rounded out the event, which we are sure will be a popular biennial feature of the shooting world in years to come. We are extremely grateful to the East India Club for hosting the event, and to all the attendees and exhibitors who came along on the day to make it such a success.