Holland & Holland have been at the pinnacle of British gun making for over a century but the roots of the company are rather unconventional.
The founder was not a gunmaker, but a London tobacconist, who happened to be a fine competition pigeon shot. His name was Harris Holland and he started having guns built to order in the 1840s.
By 1850, ‘H. Holland’ was a ‘gun-maker’ and Harris Holland’s successes in the pigeon ring continued to be reported in the press, no doubt aiding sales. With the expansion, came a move from King Street to Bond Street, in the heart of fashionable Mayfair.
In 1860, Henry William Holland joined the company as an apprentice. He would become an inventive genius and gifted businessman, helping drive his uncle’s firm forward. He lodged the first of the company’s fifty-one patents in 1861and became a partner in 1876, thereby creating ‘Holland & Holland’.
During the rest of 19th century the company prospered; notably winning all classes in the 1883 rifle trials held by ‘The Field’ magazine and gaining Royal Warrants from the King of Italy and King George V, among others. In 1885 the name ‘Royal’ was adopted for the firm’s best guns.
In 1893, Holland & Holland built their first factory, quickly replaced in 1895 by the one we currently occupy, in Kensal Green. Innovation continued with the introduction of the ‘Paradox’ jungle gun in 1885 and the famous .375 H&H Magnum in 1912.
In 1930, chairmanship passed to Col. Jack Holland, who opened our current shooting grounds in Northwood and saw the company through the difficult years of the Great Depression, World War Two and the austerity that followed.
In the last half of the 20th century, Holland & Holland maintained its position among the world’s best gun makers, moving to Bruton Street and introducing the ‘Products of Excellence’ concept, which set a new standard for fine presentation-grade guns and rifles and introduced a new calibre; the .700 Nitro Express.
In recent years, new models have joined the range, like the ‘Sporting over & under and the ‘Round Action’ shotgun and rifle. Today, Holland & Holland continues to lead the field as a traditional gunmaker with a thoroughly modern outlook, catering to the world’s most discerning sportsmen.