Purdey Brand Video


At the heart of James Purdey & Sons ever since we started 200 years ago has been the quality of the craftsmanship
involved in building the guns the rifles and the early days pistols. It was James Purdey’s whole ambition to build the very best he developed over
his lifetime and he died in 1864 the Purdey way which was the way Purdey did
things which was uncompromising with the focus absolutely on quality and doing it
right. Craftsmanship still continues to this
very day to be absolutely at the heart of every gun we make and we have some of
the best craftsmen in the world. When James Purdey completed a seven-year
apprenticeship in 1805 at the era of Trafalgar he got a job with Joseph
Manton who was I think by all accounts the best quality gun maker at the time
in London after five years with Manton he left to work with
the Reverend dr. Alexander Forsythe and dr. Forsythe’s principle claim to fame was
to be for the invention of the percussion cap so James Purdey had very
much been full-sized right-hand man at that important period of research he
always wanted to set up his own business and that opportunity arose in 1814 and
he set up his first shop but he always decided right at the outset that he
wanted to build guns for the nobility and gentry in other words the top end of
the market best quality guns which would command the highest prices. Now our first
contact with the royal family was in 1838 year after Queen Victoria had come
to the throne when she ordered a pair of pistols as a gift for the Imam of Muscat. Then in 1868 her son Prince later King Edward the seventh brought in
a troublesome German made rifle and James Purdey fixed it and he was so
pleased that he conferred his royal warrant. The whole ethos of the
development of the sporting gun in the 19th century was to do with making them
work more efficiently and faster. Those who were lucky enough to be able to
afford to buy a Purdey and shoot with a Purdey would always say how wonderfully well it
worked. I mean when we launched the harmless ejector gun in 1880 one of its
unique selling points was the fact that it had an assisted opening action
invented and designed by Frederick Beasley who was one of our actions and
this after had fired the gun and pushed the top lever over another Purdey patent
and it sprung opened and the ejector popped the cartridges out this was
shaving seconds or fractions of seconds of every time we related the gun so you
were able to get off mold shells. The sport of shooting is essentially a very
sociable pastime pulling the trigger and shooting a bird is but a very small part
of the total culture of the day which is all about meeting young friends. On that
basis I mean we as the provider of guns for many people we are an integral part.
Purdey has provided shooting accessories certainly since the 19th
century the Purdey clothing side has gone on to be a very important element of our
business so that’s where shooting has enabled us to develop the business in
terms of providing our customers with nice clothing and accessories and things
that reflect the same attention to detail and quality that we put into the
guns. We like to think that people who order new Purdey guns can rely totally on
us to provide the service that you would expect of a first class gun maker. We
have very warm working relationship with the principal shooting agents. Some visitors would like to go and shoot grouse in Yorkshire or something and what do I do
it doesn’t happen very often this by the way because most people know perfectly well what
to do but we can advise. We have been operating the Purdey Awards for Game and
Conservation since 1999 and the purpose of this is to give reward and
recognition to people who work long hard hours in developing habitats for
improving their shoots but also in the process do a huge amount of good for the
management of the countryside and new tree plantings hedge plantings and so on
and so forth. It’s been one of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done because
I thought what a wonderful way to put something back into the sport which has
enabled our business to flourish over 200 years. So it’s been an enormous
privilege an enormous pleasure and an enormous source of pride that I was able
to be chairman until I retired in 2007 and that I’ve remained with the business
since. I think we have to say that we are very fortunate in having the team
dedicated to Purdey quality and our whole mission statement belief in giving the
best possible service to our customers and who are our customers going to be
well the world is our oyster so I believe there are all sorts of new
opportunities in the new world and beyond.

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