W.W. Greener, one of the most famous and influential English gunmaking firms of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, is for sale. In its late 19th Century heyday, the company had the world’s largest sporting-gun factory in the heart of Birmingham’s Gun Quarter.
W.W. Greener was revived in 1985 when the name and assets were purchased from the Harris & Sheldon Group, Ltd., by a small group headed by Graham Greener, William Wellington Greener’s great-grandson. After the First World War, the firm’s business had declined slowly, as overseas markets for the export-oriented maker had shrunk or were closed. In the mid-’60s Webley & Scott had absorbed the company.
With a highly reputed gunmaking team headed by directors David Dryhurst (one of the last Greener apprentices) and Richard Tandy, the reborn firm began focusing on building best-quality guns only, and since the mid-’90s it has concentrated on exhibition-grade “Art Guns” made to original Greener designs and engraved by the likes of Alan and Paul Brown, Keith Thomas, and Bradley Tallett, making them some of the most elaborate and expensive guns and rifles produced in modern-day Britain. These days the company is noted especially for its scaled-frame Damascus-barreled guns, available from 12 to 32 gauge, barreled from Greener’s cache of vintage tubes.
But the time has come, the directors say, to turn over Greener’s legacy to a younger set of hands. There are no heirs interested in continuing the business, and the directors are approaching retirement age. According to Graham Greener: “We would like to provide an opportunity for someone or an organization with enthusiasm and funding to make the brand even more successful, to build on its history and legacy.”
For more details, contact the firm’s registered office at W.W. Greener, Telegraph House, 59 Wolverhampton Rd., Stafford, ST17 4AW, UK; [email protected].
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF W.W. GREENER