Luggage range

Uniquely numbered, each piece of Purdey luggage can be tracked back to its origins

The Purdey Story

The Purdey story starts with a journey, the long walk from east Scotland to London, that John Purdey took in 1690.

We can’t be certain, but it seems likely he was travelling in search of work, joining the Purdeys of Wandsworth and Stepney who had already settled, and prospered, in the city.

John’s second son, James, was born in 1739 and worked as a blacksmith in the Minories, close to the Tower of London. This was the gunmaking quarter and James undoubtedly carried out barrel work there on behalf of the local gunsmiths.

It was not until James’s own son, also christened James and born in August 1784, started an apprenticeship with his brotherin-law the gunsmith Thomas Keck Hutchison, that the Purdey gunmaking tradition truly began.

    From the inception of his Company, James Purdey established himself as purveyor of fine travel goods designed to accommodate his bespoke guns and rifles, in addition to fulfilling his clients’ shooting needs.

    As well as creating a new wealth within Britain, the industrial revolution allowed a new class of successful businessmen to gain access to what were, back then, new means of transportation: initially trains and eventually motor cars . These advances in travel allowed easy and fast access to the country estates they were investing in and developing for field sports.

    Whilst the codes and protocol of driven shooting as we still know it were being written, the requirement for fine travel goods was born.

    During this period, the need for sturdy functional travel equipment was also enhanced by the substantial expansion of the British empire, on which the sun never used to set.

    To fully indulge his passion in style, the 19th century, discerning sportsman and gentleman did not only require fine, bespoke shotguns and rifles. He also needed equally well finished leather cases, covers and ammunition bags that would protect his cherished belongings throughout his lifetime and beyond. Surviving him, they would be passed on and looked after by the next generation.

    `The way Purdey does things, which is uncompromising, with the focus absolutely on quality and doing it right’ James Purdey, The Founder (1784-1863)

    Attention to detail from conception and design, through execution and use, whilst deeply rooted in understated elegance. A way of life.

    The iconic ‘Purdey starburst’ was created and engraved by the founder himself in the 1820’s.

    From its ‘Action’, ‘Crown’ or ‘Lock’, your piece of Purdey luggage encapsulates over two centuries of aesthetics, functionality, innovation and ‘know how’.

    The nettle and cotton canvas has been manufactured by ‘John Spencer’, the last traditional cotton weaver, in the town of Burnley, Lancashire, where the world’s industrialised textile weaving industry began. The founder started work as a warehouseman in a Burnley Mill in 1874, at the age of 14.

    Six generations later, the great-great-great grandson of the first John Spencer is still running the family business and is proud to continue the traditional crafts that have passed down from mother and father to sons and daughters.

    The canvas is a recreation of the fabrics used in the Second World War by the Swiss Army, when it was found that yarns could be made from nettle fibres that were extremely strong and durable. Combining them with cotton would make the most robust rucksacks and other army requirements.

    The character of the different colours is achieved by dyeing the yarns into different shades and then combining them in the weaving process to create a natural mixture that echoes the colours of the landscape, whilst giving the fabric a very distinctive look and feel.

    Oak bark leather has been tanned at J. & F. J. Baker’s Tannery on the banks of the River Coly in Colyton since Roman times. Over the centuries the oak bark tanning process has changed very little.

    The raw hides are immersed in lime and water to loosen the hair and then soaked in weak tan liquors in pits called handlers.

    Having passed through the handler pits the hides are then layered flat, one on top of each other, with a layer of ground oak bark between each hide. These deep, layer pits are filled with a stronger oak bark liquor and the hides remain here for nine months.

    The long, slow, oak bark, tanning process ensures that the natural fibres making up a hide are allowed to remain in their natural weave, giving the leather a higher tensile strength.

    All saddlery and harness leathers are heavily dressed, giving the fibres a generous coat of oils and greases. This ‘currying’ process, as it is known, not only gives a softer, more supple leather, but also improves the waterproofing and strength. This is thanks to the historic and unique mix of naturally occurring greases.

    The combination of traditional tannage and currying produces first class, bridle, stirrup and harness leathers.

    The bridle shoulders supplied to Purdey are selected, after tanning, for the quality of their grain. They are then shaved to a level substance, dressed and stained using the traditional methods to produce a fine, full grain, aniline finish. This type of finish improves with age and use, as did the leathers of centuries gone by.

    J. & F.J. Baker is Britain’s only remaining traditional oak bark tannery. Their unique leather is favoured by distinguished craftsmen for its quality, durability and finish.

    An extension of Purdey’s renowned engraving, precision engineering and innovation. Made from solid brass, that has undergone several processes to give the famous Purdey ‘Coin finish’.

    A careful mix of functionality and aesthetics, designed to allow you to operate easily through tactility in any given situation.

    "The Side by Side Weekender features carbon fibre rods which give the bag great strength and structure. With an innovative twist, the holllow rods have been carefully modified so that they can be used to store cigars and even your favourite spirit."

    Luggage range
    Luggage range
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