Nigel Brown Dies

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Tim Wilkes 43
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:43 pm

Nigel Brown Dies

Post by Tim Wilkes 43 »

Nigel Brown, who researched and wrote the magnificent three volume opus 'British Gunmakers', has died. Those of us who appreciate and enthuse over fine British sporting guns have much to be grateful to him for the work he carried out. He recorded in detail the efforts of not only the better known names, but also those who toiled in the back streets of gun production in Great Britain.

The British GTA (Gun Trade Association) released this:

"It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the death of Liveryman Nigel Sime Brown, who died 11 February, aged 84 years, at his retirement home at Sutton Manor. He moved there to be with his wife Caroline, who passed away last year. Elected to the Livery 3 April 1975, Nigel Brown was a solicitor by training and a Partner in Linklaters & Paines. He served with 21 SAS from 1959 to 1972, where Past Master Emeritus David Lentaigne remembers him as ‘the Demolition Officer in the Regiment; someone who knew a great deal about how to make things fall over or blow up’. In a different vein, he understood the gun trade, serving also as Secretary to the Gun Trade Association during the 1980s. He was keenly interested in its history and was a prolific writer on guns and an acknowledged expert author, including of the three well known volumes of London and British Gunmakers. He was currently working on the fourth volume British Gunmakers. A collector too, the Gunmakers’ Company has benefited from several gifts of classic guns and actions and a unique assembly of various trigger mechanisms. The Gunmakers’ Company Charitable Trust likewise benefitted from his generosity over many years, with a substantial contribution to its funds received only recently from the sale of two very fine shot guns. Aside from his generosity, dry wit and intellectual input to the society of gunmakers, he was regularly a top scorer in the inter-livery shooting competitions and will perhaps be best remembered in the image, as Past Master Jonathan Young phrased it, ‘a very elegant and effective shot, using his Purdey hammer gun’."

Diggory also posted on his website:

"The world of British gun enthusiasts, last week, sadly lost its most important contributor to the knowledge bank of gunmakers, their places of work, serial numbers and chronologies.
Nigel Brown was involved in the gun trade for over thirty five years, serving as a legal advisor to WAGBI, BASC and the BSSC. Nigel was a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers and was elected as chairman of the Long Sufferers Association in 2005.
His major contribution to the wider shooting and gun collecting community is his comprehensive study of gun-makers, compiled in three volumes as ‘British Gunmakers’. Volume One covers London, Volume Two deals with Birmingham, Scotland & The Regions and the last, Volume Three, contributes appendices and additional records pertaining to Volume Two.
For many a gun buyer, Brown’s books are the first point of reference to see who made their gun, when it was sold and what sort of pedigree it has. For officials seeking to verify the age of a gun, for classification or export, a reference to Brown is sufficient to elevate a claim into a fact.
I used to rub shoulders with Nigel Brown every few months at Holt’s or Gavin Gardiner’s, where we would both be looking over obscure stamps and marks on guns, trying to find evidence to support a hunch or confirm a suspicion.
Nigel was always courteous and friendly but clearly absorbed in his work. His legal training made him methodical and equipped him to make a set of reference books that the layman can use with confidence, from what amounts to tens of thousands of individual observations and pieces of information gathered and sorted.
It is no exaggeration to say that Nigel Brown’s books have catalogued, forever, countless pieces of information about Britain’s gunmakers that would have been lost to history, had it not been for his love of the subject, reverence for British guns and dedication to the daunting task he set himself.
Gun Trade Association Executive Director, Simon West, said; “Nigel was a charming and humorous figure who had immense passion for the Trade and particularly fine guns. His books on British Gunmakers will remain key works in the history of our industry. He kindly helped me write an article for Hunt magazine last year on the history of the Association. A lawyer, SAS officer, liveryman and passionate shot but most of all he will be remembered for his very generous donations to the Gunmakers' Trust supporting the ongoing provision of apprenticeships bursaries.”
All of us who work with, collect, or enjoy old guns owe Nigel a great debt. So, raise a glass to him this evening in recognition of his work on our behalf. We will be using his books for many decades to come."

Rest easy and thank you.


Alan David 60
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:29 pm

Re: Nigel Brown Dies

Post by Alan David 60 »

His three volumes of British Gunmakers will be the unsurpassed reference for those interested in British gunmakers both large and small, especially for those wishing to know when a particular gun may have been made.

One lives in hope that the fourth volume he was working on, will see the light of day, eventually.


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