he craft of making sporting guns, as we know them today, was particularly developed around the turn of the century under the Victorians and Edwardians. At that time the sport of game shooting became both popular and fashionable for a variety of reasons, not the least being that it enjoyed the patronage of the royal family and, notably, of Edward VII then the Prince of Wales. As a consequence, the demands on the gunmakers skills were high as the sport attracted those from society who insisted upon not only individuality in their guns, which was shown in the engraving, but also the very best in the quality of the materials. Under such patronage the gun trade flourished.
It was during this time that William Evans decided to set up on his own having learnt his craft by working for James Purdey & Son and Holland & Holland. In 1883 he founded the business at 95a Buckingham Palace Road and in 1885 moved to 4 Holden terrace in Pimlico. By 1888 his reputation had grown and his business progressed enough for him to move to a more prestigious address at 4 Pall Mall Place. In 1896 the company moved yet again to 63 Pall Mall, opposite St.James's Palace.
At this time the back-bone to William Evans' client list was firmly established, notably with ranking officers in the Guards Regiments who ordered sporting guns and rifles before being posted to various parts of the Empire. The move to St.James's, the heart of London's "Club land", further strengthened his client list and the company attracted the patronage of members of several prestigious gentlemen's clubs such as White's, Boodles and Brooks to name but a few. Also, by being close to the Houses of Parliament, the company soon found members ofboth the House of Lords and House of Commons frequenting its premises.
The company was also proud to list among its distinguished clients HRH The Duke of Connaught and HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught. On February 23rd, 1944, just before 10.45pm, Pall Mall was hit by a war-time bomb killing 8 civilians and wounding more than 50 others. The company's premises at No 63 was badly damaged and, as a result, the company was forced to move around the corner to 67 St.James's Street where it has remained ever since.
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