The Purdey family were experimenting with over-and-under designs as far back as 1871, when we created a 16-bore, over and under rifle for Aga Ali Shah.
However it was in 1949 that we acquired London gunmaker James Woodward & Sons. Not only was Woodward famous for an excellent side-by-side; his over-and-under was second to none. Patented in 1913, it was famous for being lightweight and exceptionally strong, so Purdey decided to adopt it as their own.
Ernest Lawrence, whose family had been involved with Purdey since 1898, took the Woodward ejector mechanism and modified many aspects of it. The stock, action and lock shapes were given more slender, Purdey lines. He also re-designed the firing pins, and improved the lock, strap and safety slide.
With some help from his older brother Harry, Ernest created an over and under shotgun that has yet to be surpassed, the design of which forms the basis of every sidelock over and under we build today.