Purdey guns have always been crafted in London, and originally the workshop and showroom were one and the same; first in Princes Street off Leicester Square (which became ‘Wardour Street’ in 1878), and, from 1826, at 314 ½ Oxford Street – former premises of that ‘king of gunmaking’ Joseph Manton, under whom James Purdey first honed his skills.
We acquired the lease to our first dedicated workshop, 37 North Row, on 1 December 1881. In the 130 years since then, Purdey gunmaking has remained based in west London: moving to Irongate Wharf in 1900, and North Wharf Road after that. In October 1979, we moved into our current home in Hammersmith.
But a workshop is nothing without its workers, and it is these men, often handing down skills from father to son, that truly maintain the Purdey legacy.
Many families have served over generations, none more successfully than the Lawrences. Ernest Charles Lawrence started at Purdey’s as a finisher; such was his skill that the other men soon found their work being sent back, having failed to meet the new quality standard he’d attained.
It was Ernest Charles who formulated the secret mixture, ‘slacum’, with which we still polish our gunstocks today.