The Field’s Riﬂe Trials 1883 In 1883 a series of rifle trials was held under the auspices of The Field magazine – at the time the most prestigious of the British shooting journals. The trials attracted many of the leading gunmakers, though not all. Entry to the event was a bit of a gamble for the participants as the results were certain to receive much publicity afterwards. The trials comprised various classes from the smallest rook and rabbit rifles to the largest big game rifles. William Froome entered Holland & Holland rifles in every class, shooting each one himself. The results were spectacular with Holland & Holland sweeping the board, winning in all ten classes.
The results of The Fields trials projected the Holland & Holland name to the forefront of the London gun trade while setting new standards of excellence to which other gunmakers needed to aspire if they were going to be successful. It was, therefore, important that a man of Froome’s ability should be retained on the team and not be lured away by a competitor.
With the huge publicity drawn from the event, the success of the 1883 trials was a turning point for the firm. Holland & Holland became a household name among rifle shooters, and the firm was widely acknowledged as world class gunmakers and rifle
builders. Following the event, the words “Winners of all The Field rifle trials, London” were engraved on most Holland & Holland guns and rifles produced and printed on trade labels for some considerable time after 1883.
With the rapid growth of the business around the 1890s, Holland & Holland moved to new premises on Harrow Road – in fact an old Baptist chapel that was refurbished to serve as a gun factory. As the result of the continued growth in demand, the chapel soon turned out to be too small and in early 1898 Holland & Holland moved to a new purpose-built factory at 906 Harrow Road, only a short distance away from the former location. These
are the premises which the factory still occupies. With the advances in shooting technology made around the turn of the nineteenth century, added to the change-over from black powder rifles to the lighter express rifles and nitro powders, it was a period of intense activity and technical development in the London gun trade.
Published on Aug 9, 2017