It is popular belief that James Purdey (17 84 – 1863), walked from Scotland to find work in London at the end of the 18th century. A feat that now seems like an impossible task.

He found work as a blacksmith working close to the Tower of London. A location well known for gunmaking and gunmakers. This is likely where his interest in gunmaking began as blacksmiths were often used by the local gunmakign trade.

This interest grew when his older sister married gunmaker Thomas Keck Hutchinson. Who later took James Purdey on as his apprentice in 1798. He later went on to establish his the gunmaking business in Prince’s Street in 1814 and stayed there until moving to 1827 when he moved to a new premises on Oxford Street. Where the business stayed for 57 years.

James Purdey married his wife Mary and went on to have four daughters. One of which later went onto marry Joseph Lang the gunmaker. It was not until 1828 when James the younger was born. To the much relief of his father. James the younger became his father’s apprentice in 1843 at the age of 14 and took over the business from his father in 1858.

In 1868 James Purdey the younger received its first Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII. Queen Victoria was also purchased numerous guns and rifles from James Purdey. And in 1878 she granted them another Royal Warrant.

In 1882 Purdey moved the business to a new premises on South Audley Street, which is where they are still based today. The new premises included gunmaking workshops and cartridge loading.

In 2007 after a long line of Purdey descendant, Richard Purdey ,the four times great grandson of the founding James Purdey, retired. Making Nigel Beaumont the new chairman.

James Purdey & Son Ltd are still gunmaking and are trading at South Audley Street, in London. They also have many authorised dealers all over the world.


Please view images of stocks for J. Purdey & Sons restocked by ourselves