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Sidelock
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I have in my possession a lovely Chas. Moore (probably made by W.C. Scott) 12 gauge hammer gun of some quality. The engraving is very fine and covers virtually all of the action and the wood is nice, but not extraordinary. I acquired it a couple of years ago from a member here and have been enjoying it since.

In researching the maker, the only information I can find suggests this maker was out of business by the 1860s (acquired by Joseph Lang, if I recall correctly - although Atkin, Grant and Lang had no information about the maker when I inquired of them). The gun is clearly later than that, which confuses me.

The receiver and the rib both are engraved "Chas. Moore" and the address is 77 St. James, London. As the gun is sleeved (nearly invisibly, I'll add), the proof marks are not a lot of help.

Does anyone have information on this maker which they would be willing to share? I'd like to have whatever additional information might be available to put with the gun for the next owner when my time as custodian ends.

Thanks.

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From IGC:

Name Charles Moore
Other Names Moore & Woodward; James Woodward & Sons
Address1 2 Regent Circus (later re-named Piccadilly Circus)
Address2 34 Regent Street, Waterloo Place
Address3 77 St James's Street (1 Blue Ball Yard)
Address4 64 St James's Street
Address5
Address6
Address7
City/Town London
County
State/Region/Province
Country United Kingdom
Trade Gunmaker
Other Address Kensington Gravel Pits; Place Vendome, Paris; 25 Rue Tronchet, Paris
Dates 1821-1872
Notes
Charles Moore was born in London in 1791. He is recorded as having commenced in business as a gun maker in 1821 at 2 Regent Circus (later re-named Piccadilly Circus).
Interestingly, the firm, when trading as James Woodward, claimed establishment in 1800. If Charles Moore bought an existing business this may have been the date that business was established. Alternatively, it may have been the date Charles' father (unknown and possibly unrecorded) established his business.

In 1823 Charles Moore moved to 34 Regent Street, Waterloo Place, where he stayed until 1825 when he moved to 77 St James's Street. At this time the firm made percussion pellet-lock guns under the 1821 Westley Richards patent (No. 4611).

In 1827 Charles Moore invented the "isolated" or "bar-in-wood" sidelock action.

Guns bearing the words "Charles Moore Patent" have been seen, but no such patent has been recorded. It may well be that a provisional patent application was filed at some time around 1830, but no patent was subsequently granted.

In 1827 James Woodward (b.1813 in Lewisham, London) joined the firm as an apprentice, he later rose to be head finisher and, in the 1840s, Charles Moore's partner. In about 1837 James’ brother, George Woodward (b.1823 in Middlesex), was also apprenticed to Charles Moore.

In 1829 Charles Moore was appointed Furbisher (repairer of guns) to St James's Palace and Hampton Court. In 1836 he was appointed Gunmaker-in-Ordinary to King William IV. The firm was recorded as having premises (a testing range?) at Kensington Gravel Pits in 1834, they probably occupied these premises before and possibly after this date. At some time the firm had a factory at 1 Blue Ball Yard.

In 1835 a shop was opened in France at Place Vendome, Paris, this closed in 1839 and a new shop was opened at 25 Rue Tronchet, this closed in 1845.

Charles was recorded in the 1841 census as a widower living at 77 St James's Street with his son, William (b.1816 but not recorded after 1841 and almost certainly died in 1842/3) who was also described as a gun maker. The census also records that Charles had twin daughters, Jane and Sarah (b.1821), and that living at the same address was a Joseph Steventon (b.1821) who was described as a gun maker.

James Woodward was recorded in the 1841 census as a gun maker living at 26 Berwick Street, Soho, with his wife, Mary (Mary Ann) (b.1817 in St Martins in the Fields), and their children, James (b.1839 in Middlesex later decribed more particularly as Pimlico, who later joined the firm) and Mary (b.1840 in Middlesex later described more particularly as Pimlico). Living with them was James' cousin (?), George Woodward, who was described as a gunmaker's apprentice.

In 1843 James Woodward was made a partner and the firm started to trade as Moore & Woodward. They moved in 1843 to 64 St James's Street.

It is reported that Charles Moore retired in about 1851, but this is almost certainly incorrect. A Charles Moore died in Middlesex, London, in 1848. It would appear that Charles Moore more or less retired in 1843, probably soon after his son died.

The 1851 census records James Woodward living at 64 St James's Street, and it records the birth of another son, Charles, in 1844 in St James (Street?), Westminster. This census also records George Woodward as a journeyman gun maker living at 6 Willow Street, Westminster, with his wife, Ann (b.1824 in Tottenham).

By the time of the 1861 census George and Anne were living at 30 Ponsonby Place, Westminster, and George described himself as a gun maker. George and Anne were not recorded in any subsequent censuses. The 1861 census records James and his family living at 2 Lambton Terrace, Kensington, and by the time of the 1871 census they had moved to 53 Norfolk Terrace, Kensington. In this census James' son, James (II), was not living with the family, he had married Jane (b.1837) and they were recorded at 259 Vauxhall Bridge Road, just round the corner from Ponsonby Place. The younger son, Charles, was recorded living at 2 Sevington Road and was described as a gun maker.

Early Woodward guns had vine leaf engraving, but from about the 1870s the firm adopted arcaded fences as the main distinguishing feature of their engraving. Most of their guns had stocks with semi-pistol grips.

In about 1872/3, Ernest Charles Lawrence started working for the firm; just before 1898, when he moved to work for James Purdey, he made the Woodward single trigger mechanism (recognised by three slots in the trigger plate).

By 1873 James (II) and Charles had become partners in the firm which was re-named James Woodward & Sons.

On 14 February 1876 James Woodward Jnr (II) and Thomas Southgate filed patent No 600 for an underlever cocked hammergun named "The Automaton or "The Automatic". In the 1880s this was made as a hammerless gun, and later as a rifle. The Automatic appears to have been made in both first and second qualities (with variations in the design) although many "Automatic" rifles were very high quality.

In the 1881 census James (I) and Mary were recorded living at 40 St Charles' Square, Kensington. James, aged 68, described himself as a retired gun maker. By 1891 Mary had died and by 1901 James (I) had died.

The 1881 census recorded Charles Woodward as a gun maker married to Emily L (b.1841) and living at 2 Sevington Road, Paddington, with their children, Florence J (b.1876), Charles L (b.1878) (Charles (II)) and Nora E (b.1880). Neither James (II) nor his wife Jane seem to have been recorded in the 1881 and 1891 censuses, but James (II) and Charles (I) both ran the firm.

In 1884 James (II) and Charles Woodward established a shooting and fishing agency partnership with Stephen Grant under the name of Grant & Woodward. The address of the firm was given as Stephen Grant's address at 67a St James's Street.

Charles (I) died in 1895, and James (II) died in 1900. Reportedly, Charles Littleton Woodward (Charles (II)) took over the business "in partnership with" or "in conjunction with" with the manager, William Evershed, but there appears to be no evidence of a formal partnership.

From the mid 1890s the firm's sidelocks had actions without "shoulders" i.e. were "stocked to the fences", a design adopted by other London gunmakers because of it's slim and elegant appearance.

On 27 February 1913 Charles Littleton Woodward, William Potter Evershed and Charles Hill (also employed by the firm) obtained patent No. 4986 for their famous vertical barrel shotgun. This had bifurcated lumps which interlocked with dovetails on the inside of the action walls to reduce the height of the action. The design was not dissimilar to the Boss over / under shotgun and must have been influenced by it. The Woodward gun was improved by another patent in 1921.

In 1916 prompted by injuries in the First World War the firm patented a (stock) grip for one handed shooters.

In 1923 Charles visited the USA in an attempt to boost sales there. By this time William Evershed appears to have retired.

By 1927 Charles Hill had left the firm to start his own business making guns for the trade on the original over / under patent which expired in 1927 (possibly in Birmingham where Jesse Hill (nephew?) was working. At this time and up to 1948 a Mr Bannister was Woodward's actioner, he stayed with the firm until 1948/9.

In 1937 the firm moved to 29 Bury Street, St James's. These premises were bombed during the Second World War and the firm moved in with Grant & Lang at 7 Bury Street, they moved back to 29 Bury Street after it had been repaired.

On 1 January 1949 Charles L Woodward retired and the firm was sold to James Purdey & Sons for £444.14.6d. James Purdey's main interest in buying the form was to obtain the rights to the Woodward Over/Under gun which would allow them to compete with the Boss Over/Under gun.

The records of the firm from 1873 are held by James Purdey & Sons Ltd, but Internet Gun Club has some details of serial numbers and dates of manufacture which we have not published. Please send details of your gun and its serial number by email to archives@internetgunclub.com and we will reply with what information we have.

Tim

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Thank you very much.

Now a question: how does a gun built in the 1870s or 1880s end up with the name of a firm that ceased trading under that name in the 1840s? I could understand if only the rib had the name, as they might be reused. But the action is engraved as well.

Or is this just another British gun making mystery, the answer to which is lost in the mists of time?

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The firm who owned the name, here Charles Moore, could have had an order "just like Dad's" or maybe a certain patent caused the reuse of the name. It happens all the time today.

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Daryl:

Makes as much sense as any other explanation I can create.

Thanks.

Rem

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Originally Posted By: Remington40x
I have in my possession a lovely Chas. Moore (probably made by W.C. Scott) 12 gauge hammer gun of some quality. The engraving is very fine and covers virtually all of the action and the wood is nice, but not extraordinary. I acquired it a couple of years ago from a member here and have been enjoying it since.

In researching the maker, the only information I can find suggests this maker was out of business by the 1860s (acquired by Joseph Lang, if I recall correctly - although Atkin, Grant and Lang had no information about the maker when I inquired of them). The gun is clearly later than that, which confuses me.

The receiver and the rib both are engraved "Chas. Moore" and the address is 77 St. James, London. As the gun is sleeved (nearly invisibly, I'll add), the proof marks are not a lot of help.

Does anyone have information on this maker which they would be willing to share? I'd like to have whatever additional information might be available to put with the gun for the next owner when my time as custodian ends.
I
Thanks.


Why do you think Scott as maker? Look on the bottom of the barrels for "JW&Sons" stamp. That is indication/proof of Woodward shop fabrication. Woodward would have owned "Charles Moore" brand as surviving partner of "Moore & Woodward". Like "all" gunmakers, he would have made what the market demanded (and was willing to pay for).

DDA

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Rocketman:

I pulled the gun back out and looked at the marks last night. The sleeving dates to 2000, based on the date stamp from the Birmingham proof house. The only other marks I cannot identify are the words "Patent Action" on the action flats and "WMS", "Patent No. 2762" and "8303" arranged in three lines inside a diamond shaped stamping also on the action flats.

The forend release is a Scott design, according to Vintage Guns by Dig Hadoke. I don't see that particular release on many guns, so I assumed that the gun was probably manufactured by Scott.

If you have any information on the meaning of the stampings or can suggest a way to research the patent, I'd be most grateful.

Rem

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WMS could be William Middleditch Scott, though I can find no patents attached to him with either of those two numbers. He did have a patent 2752 in 1865. Could the 6 be a 5 on your gun?

Brown and Crudginton & Baker are the best patent reference books.

Tim

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TRW:

Thanks. The 6 could be a 5. The stamping isn't really clear. I assumed the 8303 was a use number for the patent, as it was hand stamped.

Rem

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Gentlemen, I also have a C. Moore double. Ser. No. 1970, it has 27" barrels in 12 bore. One unusual feature is a grip safety that I find kind of cool. The barrel rib is engraved in script "C. Moore, 77 St. James Street, London". The locks are engraved with "C. Moore's Patent". It is in generally very good condition. It has been awhile since I posted pictures but I will give it a try. Best Regards, Jack













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