Unveiling of Blue Plaque for John Perrins
Worcester Civic Society will be unveiling a Blue Plaque at 6 Mealcheapen Street Worcester in recognition of John Perrins, Master Gunmaker of Worcester and his sons John and Henry Perrins.
This Blue Plaque has been commissioned by the John Perrins Gun Owners Club of Worcestershire.
The dedication of the Blue Plaque will be made by the Mayor of Worcester Councillor Jabba Riaz at 4.00pm on Friday 17th August at 6 Mealcheapen Street followed by refreshments and a display of guns at the Court Room in the Guildhall. All Civic Society Members and members of the John Perrins Gun Owners Club are very welcome to attend.
John Perrins Master Gun Maker of Worcester was a distant cousin of William Henry Perrins of Lea & Perrins Sauce fame.
John Perrins with his sons John & Henry were prestigious provincial gunmakers applying highly skilled precision engineering to gun and pistol making. They created a successful, renowned business in Worcester between 1831-1892.
John Perrins was born in Kidderminster in 1796 and at the age of 12 followed his brother Thomas into the gun trade to serve a 7 year apprenticeship. We know that by 1820 John Perrins was working as a gunsmith in Faversham Kent, because in November that year at the age of 24 he married Hannah Wellstead in Hastings. His son John was born in 1823 and Edward in 1829. By 1831 John Perrins was established in College Street Worcester and Bentley’s Directory of that year lists him as Gunsmith. By 1840 Bentley’s Directory was describing him as Gunmaker, designing and building guns and pistols in his own name. One of the early examples of his work that survives is a turn-over pocket pistol carried by both ladies and gentlemen for close quarter defence.
His son Henry was born in 1832, son James in 1834 and twins William & Margaret in 1836.With both his business and family growing John Perrins in 1851 moved to 4 St Swithuns Street Worcester.
In 1855 his son John became a partner and the business John Perrins & Son. From this period Vaughan Wiltshire presented a six shot pepper-box pistol to Worcester City Museum where it was on display until recently.
By 1859 John Perrins & son had moved to 6 Mealcheapen Street Worcester . In 1862 John Perrins died aged 66 and his son John inherited the business but unfortunately died from TB in 1866 aged 42. Henry Perrins now took control of the business and advanced it into the “golden age” of British gunmaking. By 1879 the business had expanded into 59 Broad Street where some of the very best provincial sporting guns were made.
Officers based at Norton Barracks with the Worcestershire Regiment would order quality guns that they would take overseas with them when they were deployed. Sporting guns built by John Perrins & son have been found all over the world. It is worth noting that an 8 bore rifle made by John Perrins & Son in Broad Street Worcester c1890 was sold in an auction in Rock Island, Illinois USA in 2015 for $35,000.
In 1892 Henry Perrins sold the business to his son-in-law Herbert Pollard under whose name the business continued until the 1950s. Henry Perrins died in 1908 at 6 St Georges Square Worcester.
The Perrins & Son Gun Owners Club was founded in 2010 by John Clements Vaughan Wiltshire and Lynn Hennessey. Since then membership now accounts for 84 sporting guns, rifles and pistols all built in Worcester in the 19th century. In addition a further 13 guns have been identified as far afield as South Africa, Northern Canada, Eastern Europe and the Americas.
For more information please look at http://info71508.wix.com/perrinsgunmaker