1. GUNMAKING CONNECTIONS
Joseph Manton is recognised as the father of all gunmakers and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery in 1835, the same year Harris Holland started the Holland & Holland business. By the 1980s Joseph Manton’s grave had fallen into severe disrepair and Holland & Holland, amongst other benefactors, paid for its restoration. Harris Holland was also buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery in 1896, which coincidentally or otherwise, is overlooked by the Holland & Holland factory built two years later.
2. THE FIELD TRIALS
In 1883, the prevalent sporting publication “The Field“ proposed a competition to decide who manufactures the best sporting rifles in the UK.’The Field Rifle Trials‘ were to be fought over 10 classes, ranging from gigantic 4-bore double rifles to rook rifles. In a remarkable feat, Holland & Holland finished first in every class.
3. FAMOUS SPORTSMEN
Holland & Holland shotguns and rifles have been used across the globe in the hands of some of the world’s most revered sportsmen. Perhaps one of the most prominent of those was the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, who was a vocal advocate of Holland & Holland’s ‘Royal’ Double Rifle.
4. THE BREVIS ROOM
In 1989, The Duke of Westminster officially opened the ‘Brevis Room’ within the Bruton Street showroom, providing a home for Holland & Holland’s archive of important sporting guns. The idea for the name of the room came from the former Holland & Holland stalwart, David Winks. The word brevis is a latin translation of short and was historically given to Holland & Holland shotguns with barrels shorter than 28 inches. David Winks named the Brevis Room as a tongue in cheek nod to another well-known gunmaker’s ‘Long Room’.
5. INNOVATION AND DESIGN
Holland & Holland hold a very large number of patents to their name, more so than any other gunmaker. Between 1861 and 1950, a total of fifty-one patents were registered by the company.
6. ROYAL ROOTS
Holland & Holland has been in Bruton Street since 1960 (initially at No. 13) but undoubtedly Bruton Street’s most famous inhabitant is Queen Elizabeth II who was born at no. 17 Bruton Street in 1926.
7. IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY
The design of Holland & Holland’s ‘Royal’ shotgun, first manufactured in 1883, is probably the most widely copied shotgun in the world.
8. The SHOOTING GROUNDS
Holland & Holland opened the Badminton Shooting School in 1896 at a site in Kensal Rise, the company’s first purpose-built location for professional shooting instruction. Henry Holland set out to create a shooting school fitted with the latest technology and traps. Upon its opening “The Field” wrote of the grounds, “We have nothing but praise to accord the whole of the arrangement.” Exactly 120-years later the Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds, now based in Northwood, continues to offer the same high standard of service for sportsmen. With an exciting expansion to the pavilion and an underground rifle range with the very latest state-of-the-art cinemagraphic targeting system planned for 2017, the Shooting Grounds continue to lead the way.
9. ‘PRODUCTS OF EXCELLENCE’
Holland & Holland’s former managing director, Malcolm Lyell, was responsible for creating the idea behind a whole series of very special guns that would later become known as ‘Products of Excellence’. The beginnings of the ‘Products of Excellence’ date back to the Game Fair held at Chatsworth in 1966 when Holland & Holland displayed a gun deeply engraved and inlaid in gold and silver by Luis Vranken of Liege on the theme of Diana the Huntress.
10. THE LARGEST SPORTING CALIBRE IN THE WORLD
When an American client challenged Holland & Holland to build a rifle bigger than the .600 rifle, the answer was always going to be yes. Especially given the company’s reputation for innovation and design. In 1989, the first ever .700 NE Double Rifle was built, weighing 18 3/4 lbs. When it was produced it was recognised as the largest commercial sporting rifle in the world.