I found a lovely S&S shotgun made by W.R. Pape for sale in a small gunshop. I didn't find much information of W.R. Pape shotguns on the internet (Google search). All I found was some photos of nice shotguns and short story of "Purdey of North". Based on the results of the search I assume that Pape shotguns are often worth of buing.
Can anyone tell me where to find more information on Pape shotguns (on the ineternet if possible)? I'm very grateful of any information related to Pape's production.
W.R.Pape owned and operated a small gunsmithing and fishing tackle shop situated in Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, England from from approx 1870 to about 1914. He made single and double barrelled shotguns and a number of small calibre rifles classed as Rook Rifles. (Rooks are a member of the Crow family of birds). His company produced the shotguns in several qualities, from the everyday working gun intended for gamekeepers and the like, to the highest quality side by side guns that could rival anything produced in London or Birmingham. His earliest shotguns were Damascus Barrelled but he turned to 'Fluid Steel' when it became available. I understand some of his 'working guns' were made up from actions made by some of the Birmingham gunsmiths which he barrelled and stocked. His high quality shotguns and the rifles were made entirely 'in shop'.
The quality of his work was superb as was the casing of his guns. He died after being hit by an motor vehicle outside his shop.
Two of his senior workmen continued his business trading under the name Bagnall and Kirkwood but gunsmithing on the premises ceased soon afterwards and the shop simply sold guns by other manufacturers and fishing tackle. The business continued in the same premises until the 1960's when it moved to Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne where it exists today. The original premisis were demolished for redevelopement of the area. Ownership has changed several times over the decades but the trading name of Bagnall and Kirkwood still exists today.
During the 1960's onwards I was a regular visitor to the shops. None of the original machinery from Papes day remained in existance although there was a large wooden packing case filled with parts of Papes products including several Rook Rifle single shot actions (all alas now all long gone).
There are a good number of Papes shotguns still in daily use in the surrounding counties of Northumberland and Durham and some of his finest products are still prized by local shooters today.
Pape also marketed shotgun cartridges and reloading equipment marked with his tradename, but these were produced for him by Eley, Kynock and other manufacturers, and were not loaded in his own workshops. Like many gunsmiths of his day he had weapons sold in his shop engraved with his name although he didn't manufacture them. I have seen at least one Luger pistol and one Mauser pistol bearing his company name. All guns of his manufacture had his name and address engraved on the barrel or receiver or both parts.
Operating from a north country town instead of one of the large gunmaking areas meant he was not as widely known as other gun manufacturers and his production totals were relatively small, in relation to other companies. Pape was one of the last small independant English gunsmiths capable of building a quality weapon from start to finish in his own workshop. Even at his peak he only had two or three workmen assisting him in his machine shop.