The Worshipful Company of Gunmakers
- Written by Bradley
The Gunmakers' Company
The company was incorporated by Royal Charter on 14 March 1637 in the reign of King Charles I. Under the charter the company was given control over both the gunmakers' craft, and the safety of small arms through powers of search, view, gauge, proof and marking.
The company's power to prove small arms has continued to this day and has been confirmed in various Gun Barrel Proof Acts. Thus the Gunmakers' mark, the letters 'GP crowned', originally approved by Charter, is still in use today. The company is one of the few in the City which still carries on the purpose for which it was founded. Since 1988, the Company has also had responsibility for certifying deactivated firearms.
The Company is unique as a City Livery Company in always having been located outside the City Walls, due to the noise and risk originally perceived from proof activity. The Company's first buildings in 1637 were by Aldgate, and then in 1675 it moved to the present site in Whitechapel. The buildings compromise the Proof House built in 1757, the Receiving Room designed for the efficient delivery and inspection of weapons and the Proof Master's house now used as offices, both built in 1826 and various workshops. Next door is Gunmakers' Hall, built in 1872, sold in 1927, but repurchased in 2007.
Founded over 600 years ago, the Draper's Company is incorporated by Royal Charter and is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies in the City of London. It has moved with the times and evolved into an organisation that addresses contemporary issues, gaining a new relevance through its philanthropic role.
The Company's first hall was in St Swithin's Lane. They moved to their present site in 1543, having purchased it from King Henry VII for the sum of 1,800 marks (approximately £1,200) The property belonged to Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex and chief minister to Henry, but has been forfeited to the King on Cromwell's execution in July 1540.
Destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666, Drapers' Hall was rebuilt between 1667 and 1671 to designs by Edward Jarman. In 1772, it was again rebuilt after a fire which did considerable damage. In the 1860's, the frontage was changed and the interior altered by Herbert Williams. It was later altered once more in 1898-9 by Sir Thomas Graham Jackson.
A magnificent meeting held in Drapers' Hall, celebrating the fine art of British Gunmaking. In a true traditional fashion the gun trade attended this prestigious event that takes place each year honoring its members.
We welcome Mr R. W. Pritcher as the new master. He follows in the very fine footsteps of Mr J. A. Browning. Set in the magnificent Draper's Hall it was a pleasure to meet many of the finest in the industry.
John Allison, Managing Director of The British Shooting Show said, "It was a wonderful evening spent with Bill Blacker and friends. It is an honor to have Bill and Jim Blacker exhibiting their fine skills at The Great British Shooting Show 2017. Visitors will be able to see them both in Gunmakers Hall 2".
For more information on Bill Blacker, click here