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Gun Factories / Gun Quarter - Staff Lists ??

changinman1

master brummie
My paternal grandfathers were gunmakers in the city from 1860 to 1900 ish and lived around Weaman st and Bagot street / Miles street /Ormond street/ Fleet Street (yes they did live in a lot of places haha ) but that is as far as I have got , their job titles from certificates of marriage and death etc are Gun Finisher / gun maker /metal roller , what id love to know is if there are any records of employment at any gunmaking workshops factories that may list their names . There were two George Field and one Joseph Field in my time line with joseph being the son of george and then joseph named his son george too. Id really appreciate any help possible please.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
My paternal grandfathers were gunmakers in the city from 1860 to 1900 ish and lived around Weaman st and Bagot street / Miles street /Ormond street/ Fleet Street (yes they did live in a lot of places haha ) but that is as far as I have got , their job titles from certificates of marriage and death etc are Gun Finisher / gun maker /metal roller , what id love to know is if there are any records of employment at any gunmaking workshops factories that may list their names . There were two George Field and one Joseph Field in my time line with joseph being the son of george and then joseph named his son george too. Id really appreciate any help possible please.
wish i could help ..as you know the gun trade was booming between the years you are interested in and there would have been many gun factories around...of course if you knew the names of where your rellies worked a trip to the library may prove useful to see if any company records still exist...i was lucky with my grandad..i knew he worked for chances glass in the 20s and dudley had the companies employment records with my grandads name written down...unless someone else can help i fear you could be looking for a needle in a haystack...all the best

lyn
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
I tend to agree with you Lyn. There were lots of small gun workshops. Lots of them did not make complete guns, they specialised in making key parts, lock, stock and barrel.

I would imagine that a lot of these small workshops also changed hands or ownership. So may have been absorbed into bigger outfits.

I am also wondering if these small workshops operated on casual labour, therefore record maybe thin on the ground.
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Mort,

Not sure on the casual labour, but many of them were just self-emplyed single workers. Weaman Street was a hive of small workshops, all rented, and I have so pics somewhere - will see if I can dig them out. Several in my family worked in that way.

Maurice :cool:
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Generally called, in some areas, as cottage industries. Some very famous names are still on that basis, I understand, with a select few empowered to use the name. One such is the French Sabatier knives.
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Janice,

I haven't yet been able to locate the pictures I was looking for, but they are similar to the bottom two pictures and description on this page of workshops at the back of St Mary's Row:-
http://mappingbirmingham.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-gun-quarter.html

And you are correct, each self-employed man just making hundreds of one part of the action, or just making gun stocks, as several of my LONGMOREs did. And not confined to Birmingham as I have several of them doing the same work in Darlaston in the 18th century. I rather doubt if they kept much in the way of paperwork, and time spent doing anything like that was time not making money!

Maurice :cool:
 

Richarddye

master brummie
Janice,

I haven't yet been able to locate the pictures I was looking for, but they are similar to the bottom two pictures and description on this page of workshops at the back of St Mary's Row:-
http://mappingbirmingham.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-gun-quarter.html

And you are correct, each self-employed man just making hundreds of one part of the action, or just making gun stocks, as several of my LONGMOREs did. And not confined to Birmingham as I have several of them doing the same work in Darlaston in the 18th century. I rather doubt if they kept much in the way of paperwork, and time spent doing anything like that was time not making money!

Maurice :cool:
I remember when I was about 10 going with my uncle who had a farm close to Water Orton to look at his shot gun being made down Steelhouse Lane. We went down an alley back at least two houses into a dimly lit building where craftsman were doing their work. I remember the men wearing leather aprons and my uncle saying that there were only a few places left (early fifties). And that the craftsmen would go from one gun make to another doing there work all as independent workers. It seemed that only a couple of years later that whole area was being taken down
 

Banjo

master brummie
I worked in the gun trade in 1960 as a part time "runner" taking various parts to various workshops and remember most of the people specializing in one form or other of gun making were self employed. The workshop I went to every day was run by a barrel maker by the name of Phil Turner. He only worked from 4pm to 7pm and his main job was in Bracebridge St.
 
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mbenne

master brummie
Sorry I can't help with your request re employees but by coincidence My GGM's father married a Hannah Field in 1858. Her Father was Thomas Field, Gun Maker. I assume that before marrying she would have lived with him in Brearley Street. There was also a gun and pistol factory around the corner in Summer Lane (Probably Benltley and Playfair).

1590820932356.png
The book, Birmingham's Industrial Heritage 1900-2000 contains an excellent section on gun making in Birmingham and lists the main employers which gave business to the smaller workshops.
 

changinman1

master brummie
Sorry I can't help with your request re employees but by coincidence My GGM's father married a Hannah Field in 1858. Her Father was Thomas Field, Gun Maker. I assume that before marrying she would have lived with him in Brearley Street. There was also a gun and pistol factory around the corner in Summer Lane (Probably Benltley and Playfair).

View attachment 145361
The book, Birmingham's Industrial Heritage 1900-2000 contains an excellent section on gun making in Birmingham and lists the main employers which gave business to the smaller workshops.
 

changinman1

master brummie
Oh wow hannah field , can you possibly share your tree with me somehow i need to compare them , they might be related
 

changinman1

master brummie
Sorry I can't help with your request re employees but by coincidence My GGM's father married a Hannah Field in 1858. Her Father was Thomas Field, Gun Maker. I assume that before marrying she would have lived with him in Brearley Street. There was also a gun and pistol factory around the corner in Summer Lane (Probably Benltley and Playfair).

View attachment 145361
The book, Birmingham's Industrial Heritage 1900-2000 contains an excellent section on gun making in Birmingham and lists the main employers which gave business to the smaller workshops.
 
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