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Reilly 50 yard Shooting Gallery at 315 (later 277) Oxford Street


Reilly had a 50 yard shooting gallery at 315 Oxford Street. It was pointed out that 50 yard range in downtown London is a lot of room. Either it was underground, punching through basements of adjoining houses or running underneath or beside the Salvation Army Hall behind Reilly's building.

Reilly advertised this shooting gallery from the time he first opened 315 Oxford Street in August 1858:

First Reilly label for 315 Oxford Street.


Advertisement for 315 from 04 September 1858:


Mention of the shooting gallery in a 23 Jul 1858 article in "The Field":


Yet I calculate that 315 Oxford Street was around 60' wide, 20 yards. The shooting gallery either coopted the basements of neighboring houses along the front of Oxford Street, or more likely was underneath the Salvation Army Hall. There is a possibility that it occupied a narrow sliver of property to the west of and adjoining the Salvation Army Hall. Wonder if it is still there in some form or another?





Edit: I tried to contact Ernest Jones, the Jewelry story which occupies 277 Oxford Street - they insist on my entering a UK phone number. So I sent this message to the Salvation Army Hall behind 277. Perhaps someone will explore the bomb-shelters/catacombs of the area:

Sirs. I have written a New History of Reilly of London, gun manufacturer. Reilly occupied 277 Oxford Street (then numbered 315 Oxford Street in August 1858 and was there until March 1903. He brought a nasty lawsuit in 1889 which was settled in favor of General Booth. Hundreds of advertisements state Reilly had a 50 yard shooting gallery in or under the building. Is there any evidence in your building, of there having been tunnels under the Salvation Army Hall which could have accommodated a "shooting gallery? Or perhaps on the west side of the building in the narrow slot of property there? Sorry to disturb you. This is important for a very small bit of the London past. The Reilly history can be read on this doublegunshop.com line:
https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=436538&page=53


Edit: A well known European gunsmith commented privately that a Shooting Gallery in the 1850's-60's was unlikely to have been underground due to lighting and ventilation issues. He sent me a picture of Lang's shooting gallery at the time an 20 yard room, now a posh hotel on Haymarket street - the room is appropriately named "The Shooting Gallery":


14 Sep 1859 Bell's Life reference to Lang's shooting gallery - first reference was in 1851.


This would seem to indicate that the Reilly shooting gallery had to be in that 12-15' sliver of property running down the side of the Salvation Army Hall.

Edit, Here's a more likely solution. Reilly at 277 Oxford St. actually occupied 277 and 281 and the three story overhang over the entrance to 275, Salvation Army Hall. 283 next door is a long narrow property that runs 50 yards all the way back to Hanover Square. I would bet Reilly owned this property and that was the shooting gallery.









Last edited by Argo44; 10/11/20 04:43 PM.

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Argo, let's go dig for a few lead samples.

See that Reilly 6 bore percussion reference on Shotgunworld.


Cheers,

Raimey
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Thanks Raimey; I responded to the post on Shotgunworld. The two "8578" guns were discussed at the bottom of p.46 on this line. Its was concluded that the Swedish gun likely was 8378 and that the 6 bore bought at Holt's was indeed 8578. Hopefully he'll send photos of the SN once it's received. Gene


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==============================================================================================
Attractive Reilly .320 Martini-Henry action rifle - marketed by Reilly, not made


A couple of pages ago (and in the history), I made the comment that I've only found one serial number Martini Henry and that was at the dawn of the Martini Henry age. Here is an attractive example forwarded by Terry Buffum:
https://gen2.joesalter.com/category/prod...nd-Co-Published

Braendlin-Tranter Martini Rifle by E.M. Reilley & Co. (Published)
Serial #15134, .320 CF, 26 1/4 solid rib barrel with an excellent, bright bore. This is an exquisitely finished rifle built on a small frame Martini action with large safety lever on the right side. The barrel retains about 90-92% of the original blue with some silvering at the muzzle, and some thin streaks of gray-brown along the axis. There is a retailer marking on the matted rib: E.M. REILLEY & Co., 502 NEW OXFORD St., LONDON just ahead of the platinum wire inlaid, double folding-leaf rear sight, and (Crown) / WT Tranter Co. marking on the left side of the barrel breech. The frame has beautiful, decorative stippling on the sides, and crisp Braendlin Armoury Co. crossed pennants roundel, E.M. Reilley & Co. riband, and Martini Patent markings in engraved insets. The frame has retained about 95-97% of the original bright blue with some tiny scratches, and small areas of flaking along the top edges. Additionally, muted original color case-hardening can still be seen on the engraved lever and safety. The darkly figured walnut forend with intact carved horn tip, and buttstock have some small handling marks scattered about the excellent, makers refinish. The checkering points are sharp, and the original engraved buttplate (slightly proud of the wood) has some mild surface oxidation at the heel. The action lock-up is tight and crisp. This very rifle is illustrated and described on pp.228-229 in British Single Shot Rifles - Rook, Rabbit & Miniature Rifles - Later Types & Hammerless Models Vol. 8 by Winfer & Rowe (2009). This is a fantastic small frame Martini sporting rifle, illustrated in the standard reference book on British single shot rifles, and rates excellent overall. Antique


A few comments:
-- The "Serial Number" is in fact the Martini patent use number
-- Tranter and Francis Augustus Braedlin made the rifle (not sure who did what) - It's possible with that Reilly stocked the gun as Terry pointed out. Engraving does not look Reilly-ish.
-- There is a Birmingham proof mark on the action.

Anyway very attractive gun, just not made by Reilly:







Notice that the engraving is identical to BrentD's Martini from the post on Martini's on p.48! -- and if the advertisement is correct, Braedlin did BrentD's gun as well.


Now this is something worthy of investigation. Braedlin allegedly was Belgian origin. He was involved with breech loaders and had a gun in the "Martini" trials of late 1860's. And later with Comblain guns the patent for which was secured in UK by Reilly....So what's he doing building Martini's? Sherlock, you are needed.








Last edited by Argo44; 10/06/20 09:05 PM.

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A Note from Donald Dallas


I'd like to share this because it's interesting and relevant. Gunsmith Abe Chaber in Connecticut, recommended by David Trevallion, offered that all English shotguns from the 1880's were originally chambered for 2 1/2" shells and if there are longer chambers (there are several Reilly's with 2 3/4" chambers), they had been reproofed.

I asked Mark Crudgington and Toby Barclay this question and Toby recommended I query Donald Dallas. Here is the email I sent to Mr. Dallas:

Mr. Dallas. A number of people have recommended I contact you - David Trevallion up in Maine, formerly with Purdey; Mark Crudgington in UK; Vic Venters in North Carolina, Toby Barclay in UK, etc.

First I'd like to send you three documents on Reilly which I've compiled over 5 years, 3,000 hours of research:
-- a "New History of Reilly of London" - published in August, September 2019 in two parts by Diggory Haddoke, but continuously updated since then.
-- A Chart of Serial Number extant Reilly's - by date.
-- A Chart dating Reilly trade-labels.

These posts on Reilly have become somewhat controversial because they go against the grain of what this generation has been taught about Reilly. They negate much of Boothyroyd, Brown Vol 1 and 3, and everything written about Reilly in the last 50 years, etc. I'd be curious about your reaction to this research.

The second question is more simple and direct. I have been told that UK shotguns were not chambered in anything longer than 2 1/2" until the 1890's. I challenged similar statements on Saint-Etienne French guns and found pre-1890 chamber lengths up on 90mm. So I question this statement. Toby Barclay said that with punt-guns, pigeon guns, etc., someone must have been making longer black-powder cartridges in UK - but that I should ask you. Could I ask for your opinion?

Gene Williams
McLean, Virginia


And here is his very considerate response:

Dear Gene,

Many thanks indeed for sending me your vast amount of research that you have undertaken on Reilly. I had never read the articles in Diggory's journal so it was all brand new to me. I must congratulate you on your lengthy and so well researched history of Reilly. I well know the considerable amount of hours that go into a piece of proper research like this.

It is so heartening that you have elevated the name Reilly where it belongs. I found it absolutely fascinating and had no idea that Reilly was such a big manufacturer. Like others I assumed, erroneously, as you explain that he was a retailer. I will now completely revise my opinion of Reilly. I was a student at the London School of Economics in the early 1970s and used to pass along New Oxford Street every morning and I always used yo think of Reilly.

Having undertaken so much research have you ever thought about doing a book on Reilly? I would reckon you would sell about 500 copies. It doesnt sound much but it is a very limited market. I think most gun historians would find such a book very interesting. There are two publishers, Quiller Publishing (who publish all my books,) do a superb job but are very expensive. There is another self-publishing British company that I have used that are far cheaper, Book Printing.co.uk. You certainly have enough material for a book.

Many thanks once again for allowing me the privilege of reading all your research.
As regards your query about 2 1/2" guns I have never seen cartridges longer than this made in the 19th century.

regards,
Donald Dallas


First Cyril Adams offered unsolicited praise for the history and serial number date chart and now Mr. Donald Dallas, a legendary researcher and double-gun historian. I must say that there is a certain inner-peace satisfaction in this after some of the harsh words in the argumentation. We are making progress towards a new consensus. And it's all thanks to this site which allowed the research to be posted and debated.

Last edited by Argo44; 02/07/21 08:55 PM.

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Reilly 50 yard shooting Gallery at 315 Oxford Street identified - closed about 1870


The mystery of the Reilly 50yard shooting gallery at 315 Oxford Street may be solved. The history will be changed; Here is the logic:

1) Reilly advertised the shooting gallery "on the premises" from the time 315 Oxford Street opened in August 1858 up to about 1870. Below is the last advertisement so far found in the London papers for the range.

2) Remember that there were three "315 Oxford Street" addresses in existence at the time - (referenced below using the re-numbers put in place after 1881.
-- 277, 281 - Reilly - called "315" including the overhang over 275, Salvation Army entranceway),
-- 287, 289 - Purdey - pre-1881 at 314, 315 Oxford Street called "314 1/2"
-- 303, 305 - the Ash Residence house (previously a hospital) located pre-1881 called "314, 315c".
...all within a block of each other.

3). 283 - Above it was speculated that the adjacent building to Reilly later renumbered 283 with a long thin 28 ft wide plot that extended 65 yards to Hanover Square was the Reilly Shooting gallery.

4) Conclusion:

-- a) "283" was a fourth building numbered "315" on Oxford Street pre 1881 and it was adjacent to Reilly's workshop. It likely was originally part of the Reilly complex at 315 Oxford Street and was the location of the shooting gallery.

--b) Reilly's last so far known advertisement for the shooting gallery at "315" was in 1867.

--c) The building was bought in 1871 by a Billiard professional named Joseph Bennett and turned into a Billiard "gallery." It was located at "315, Oxford Street"
https://www.snookerheritage.co.uk/normans-articles/past-masters/joseph-bennett/


From Wikipedia:
"Joseph Bennett was an English champion player of English billiards. He was the billiards champion three times when it was played on a challenge basis.

Bennett was born in 1842 in Town Malling, Kent, and played his first billiards match aged 22.

In November 1870, Bennett played John Roberts Jr. for the Billiards Championship and £200, and won the title with the scoreline 1,000-905. The match was watched by over 300 spectators.[2] Roberts beat Bennett 1,000-637 the following year, in January 1871, to regain the title.[3]

Bennett made a further unsuccessful title challenge in November 1871, losing 942–1,000 to William Cook, but won the title again in November 1880, beating Cook 1,000-949. Bennett successfully defended the title in January 1881, beating Tom Taylor 1,000-910. During the match against Taylor, Bennett set a new championship record break of 125.

In September 1881, Bennett, who had broken his arm when being thrown out of a gig, resigned the title when challenged by Cook. He made one further unsuccessful challenge for the title, losing 1,360-3,000 against Roberts in June 1885.

He taught billiards in London. Following a stroke on Christmas Day 1904, he died on 17 January 1905 at his home in Mayfair, London, from "apoplexy following a state of paralysis." "


--d) The Billiard club's address number changed to "283" after 1881.

--e) The actress Miss Emily Bennett, listed as an address both 315 Oxford Street and after 1881 283 Oxford Street, indicating she likely was the daughter of Joseph Bennet, Billiard World Champion (she couldn't have been more than 18 years old in 1881 (see below)

If you want some fun detective work on London society at the time here are the advertisements:

1) Last so far found advertisement for the Reilly shooting gallery:
25 Oct 1867, "London Evening News"


2) Opening of Bennett's billiard club at 315 Oxford Street:
13 Jun3 1871 "The Sportsman"


3) Confirmation that this "315" is indeed 283, the Bennett Billiard Club:


4) Miss Emily Bennett - the burlesque actress (Joseph's daughter) listing both "315" (pre November 1881) and "283" (post Nov 1881) addresses?


Here is a photographic analysis of the properties 277/281 (Reilly) and 283 (Bennett):




As for Joseph Bennett's mention of residing in 1881 at "the Oxford Club," the history of that gentleman's club, a very important club in London history, is interesting. The Oxford Club (a billiard table was always center-piece) leased premises at an "Oxford Street" address in 1881 but never occupied them. The lease must have been let by Mr. Joseph Bennett.

In the fall of 1880, a few young men of Lynn, wishing to form a Club, chose a committee to find quarters and report at a following meeting.

The committee reported that rooms could be procured on Oxford Street. It was at once voted to engage these rooms, and to name the new organization the Oxford Club.

Shortly after this action, it was ascertained that the Club could secure a more suitable room in the Rank Building on Exchange Street. It was determined to take such room; and while, therefore, the proposed quarters on Oxford Street were never occupied, the name Oxford Club was retained. One pool table, one billiard table, a few chairs and a card table were purchased, and the young Club entered into its first home on Exchange Street, with a membership of fourteen, limited to twenty. This limit was very soon reached.


You can read it here:
http://wiki.genealogytoday.com/The_Oxford_Club_1909_History.html
"In 1887 Mr. Josiah C. Bennett was elected President, but declined to serve," (Wonder if this were indeed the 3 times world champion?)

Finally the dimensions of a standard English billiard table on the surface is 10'x5'.
-- If you allow 5' for a cue, then the interior walls of 283 (315), formerly Reilly's shooting gallery, had to be at least a bit over 20' wide. The estimated exterior width of 283 from photos is about 28'. For a shooting gallery, 20 feet x 50 yards is pretty impressive!
-- The length of a table is 10' on the table surface...at 5' per cue and the tables had to occupy 25' feet each for comfort. He had 12 tables on three floors, which included private tables. Say 5 tables on ground and first floor - 125' ...getting pretty near 50 yards.
-- And it's not a pool "Hall"...it's a billiard "Gallery."


When I got to Pakistan I had a standard US dimensions pool table in the house (9' x 4.5'). On Friday nights the games commenced....I finally had to limit the bets to 10 rupees ($1 at the time) to prevent fights. The billiard snooker guys would show up - they absolutely didn't understand the difference between snooker and 8 ball. I won a lot of money.!

Photo from 1978, shortly before I left, after I had sold the table to a friend in Karachi:








Last edited by Argo44; 10/19/20 08:10 PM.

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10054 - Vintage Gun Journal comments


Double gun enthusiasts are passionate about their history. Per posts two pages earlier, Diggory Hadoke forward an advertisement for a Reilly pin-fire SN 10054. It is absolutely the earliest Reilly center-break gun found to date and would date to Fall 1856 per the Reilly chart.
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Diggory published the following article in September "Vintage Gun Journal" on the gun:
https://www.vintageguns.co.uk/magazine/the-earliest-reilly-breech-loader-

A few comments:
-- I may be Old..but not "Oldish." (As the old Special Forces song "Mary Ann Barnes" goes....I can still "Shoot, jump, fight, f**k, fly a plane a drive a truck.")
-- The dating of the gun is far more complex than is presented in the article, and is far more precise. Please read the serial number dating chart and go over the p.44 list of extant guns. (I need to move both history and list forward)
-- Mark Crudgington was introduced to me by Diggory, and I have had an on-going conversation with him about Reilly; we disagree on a number of points - he has been extremely helpful on others. Some of the comments he made to me are included in Diggory's article.
-- The subtle anti-Americanism which emerges from the article can be put down to just trans-Atlantic misunderstandings and prejudices, one supposes. (I've heard about this from other American gun-smiths dealing with their trans-Atlantic Kin). We've encountered them before.

10054 is still the Earliest Reilly center-break ever found. It may be in fact the earliest extant UK made center-break pin-fire.

Mark said that he knows of two dated Lang pin-fires from 1854 per the receipts. (Per Lang's own essay we know he began to make them about early 1854). Mark like David Trevallion and Robert Dollimore in New Zealand, are the historical repository of knowledge of gun making from the 1940's and in Mark's case, because of his father, an inherited expertise stretching back to the 1920's in partnership with David Baker. However, over the years I've learned to wait for the physical evidence.

For now Reilly's 10054 is the earliest existing UK made pin-fire. Welcome refutations.

Last edited by Argo44; 03/17/21 12:42 PM.

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315 Oxford Street - 277 Oxford Street - a clarification


Just to clear up the business about 315 Oxford Street - I was sent a whole lists of businesses supposedly at that address, with the allegation that the were all in Reilly's building and Reilly only occupied a small portion of the building. This is patently not true from the 1889 court case. Here is the proof:

-- excerpt of the 1880 London City Directory for this portion of Oxford street:


-- Excerpt for the same group of businesses in 1885 after renumbering in November 1881.


And here is the match-up of 1880 numbers with 1885 numbers; There are 9 "315"'s, etc:


Hope this puts this allegation to rest.


But by the way, 283 Oxford Street (315), the billiard club postulated as the Reilly shooting gallery 1858 - 1867? is now an unlikely candidate - it was a billiard club in the 1860's as well run by Francois De Neayer (unless it was on the ground floor and the club on the upper stories). To be continued:

1865 London City Street Directory:




Last edited by Argo44; 10/25/20 09:17 PM.

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Who ran the Reilly firm after E.M's death in July 1890? Looks like it was indeed his wife Mary


This article from the 02 August 1895 Marylebone Mercury details the death of Reilly's first "son" (supposed)....making clear he was unable to have directed the company as speculated in the history. It also alleges E.M.'s wife Mary was running the firm. The history will be changed.

The edited history mentions that she was a woman operating in a man's world. This is not derogatory; it's the truth. The fact she did it for 9 years before her death is a testament to her pluckiness. I just wish we knew more about her. At 20 years old, seducing a 50 year old successful businessman, ignoring convention and having 4 sons out of "wedlock"...and running a large company. in Victorian, England. This is really something movies are made for - sex, guns, money and power. Her offspring included later Members of Parliament.

No-one knows who was her father or mother or her background except for family historians who speculate that she as E.M. cousin. Even her maiden name is not clear...it is either Curtis or "C-o-x." She was born in 1845, died in 12 January 1899. Yet this may be a photo of her strolling with E.M. along Oxford Street close to 277, about 1885.


And by the way, 45' gives an idea of the height of top story window of the old building at 277 Oxford Street.

This is a sad story about Edward Montague...insulted by his father, contracted TB...and it looks like he just gave up.

Last edited by Argo44; 11/04/20 10:47 PM.

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You need psychiatric help.

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