The Gun Makers of Birmingham, 1660–1960


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About the Book

Tracing the history and development of gun-making in Birmingham, England–for many years a center of the world’s firearms industry–this book covers innovations in design and manufacture of both military and sporting arms from 1660 through 1960. The city is perhaps best known for mass-producing some of the most battle-tested weapons in history, including the Brown Bess musket, the Webley revolver and the Lee-Enfield rifle. Yet Birmingham’s gun-makers have carried on a centuries-long tradition of crafting high quality hand-made sporting guns.

About the Author(s)

Joseph McKenna is a retired local studies librarian, with over 30 years experience working in the Central Library in Birmingham, England. He formerly sat on the City Council`s Conservation Advisory Areas Committee.

Bibliographic Details

Joseph McKenna
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 258
Bibliographic Info: 57 photos, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8378-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4146-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Introduction 1
1. The Early Years 5
2. A Period of Transition 27
3. The Triumph of the Birmingham ­Gun Makers 57
4. Two World Wars 96
5. Postwar Decline 107
6. The Gun Makers of Birmingham, 1660–1960 113
7. Black Country Gun Workers 217
Appendix I: “Brown Bess” by Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) 235
Appendix II: Birmingham Gun Firms at the Great Exhibition, 1851 237
Appendix III: Chronological Location of Manufacturers in the Gun Quarter, 1777–1957 238
Appendix IV: Displacement of Gun Making Firms and Subsidiaries, Owing to the Cutting of the Inner Ring Road 239
Chapter Notes 243
Bibliography 245
Index 247