T. W. Chambers & Co
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Company History

Whilst 1823 is the date used for the firm''s establishment the Chambers family involvement with the gun trade can be traced back to at least 1748 and perhaps even earlier.

The earliest record found so far occurs in the parish records of Lewins Mead Presbyterian Chapel, Bristol, when in 1748 & again in 1750, a Thomas Chambers, Gunsmith, of the parish of St.Michael, Bristol, had two of his children baptised. His son Charles Chambers (born 1750) continued the family line and after serving his seven year apprenticeship with Richard Trinder. In turn the family trade was continued by his 5 sons with the eldest - Charles working from a variety of London East End addresses. It would appear that until the 1820''s the family continued to work as a loose co-operative.

It is Thomas (the third son) from whom the company originates. In 1823 Thomas set up in his own right and by the early 1860''s the firm had moved to Whitechapel. Thomas''s sons (Thomas Joseph, John, Charles David & Richard Barnett) progressively joined the company and in 1852 a workshop was opened in Birmingham. The early death of Thomas Joseph in 1866, aged just 37 somewhat changed the pecking order, as the third son Charles David appears to have taken control.

In 1866 the company relocated to Enfield but by the mid 1870''s these premises had closed and John (the second of Thomas''s sons) left to work on his own. 1874 saw the company operating solely from Birmingham and now involving just the two remaining sons. Little is known about the company''s activities during the next 30 years but it is clear however that tensions came to the surface as Charles''s two sons joined the business (Charles David junior in 1896, and Walter some six years later). Rivalry soon developed between the brothers and Walter left. For the next decade father & eldest son worked together until the dramatic events of 1914.

On 16th December 1914 at the age of 41 Charles David (junior) enlisted. The shock & practicalities of this caused ructions that were never settled. In 1915 the firm was ''mothballed'' for the duration of the war. The rift between Charles David (junior) his father and brother was never healed.

The business was dusted down & restarted by 1920 with a workshop being set up at 15 St.Mary''s Row, Birmingham. In 1933 Charles''s son Thomas joined the firm and worked until the second war. He enlisted with REME in 1939, rising to the rank of armourer staff sergeant by 1945.

At the outbreak of war the firm moved to 4 Price Street where it remained until 1966 when Thomas took the decision to move the company to the more rural environs of Northleach in Gloucestershire.

Thomas and his wife Betty (nee Hollins) had only one child, Paul, born May 19th 1962. Paul joined the company in 1979. In 1990 new premises were established by Paul at Alness, Ross-shire, Scotland to handle the firm''s trade repairs and parts manufacture and following Thomas''s retirement the Northleach end of the business was transferred to Alness.

With the continued decline of traditional Gunmaking Paul looked for other avenues of business. He had a passion for air weapons and through the 1990ís developed the business supplying parts, repairing and tuning. With the advent of the internet Paul saw at an early stage the possibilities of selling air weapon spares and commenced the immense task of building an effective website that was launched in 2003. During the following years he worked tirelessly to expand his range while still handling the normal daily business.

In 2005 Paul was starting to enjoy the rewards for his efforts and he was married to his girlfriend Olga in August 2005. Sadly health issues started to show as 2005 drew to a close and Paul was admitted to hospital in late December 2005 with cancer. Sadly, though he battled on, he died on November 16th 2006 aged only 44.

Paulís untimely death brought to an end the Chambers family involvement in the company and in December 2006 it was bought over by two business associates and friends of Paul who are continuing the company name and building on the work started by Paul.

This page is dedicated to the memory of Paul Chambers 1962 Ė 2006 a good friend, a true gentleman of the old school and a skilled Gunsmith.

Copyright © 2007 T.W.Chambers & Co (Gun & Riflemakers).