Midland Gun Company had various trading sites during its lifetime from 1880 until it closed its doors 1964 however this painting depicts when it was still trading at both addresses from Whittall Street, & Bath Street. Trade was in guns, shot guns, rifles & pistol makers
Address 1 76 Bath Street Address 2 80 & 81 Bath Street Address 3 Price Street Address 4 Demon Gun Works, 77 Bath Street
Address 5 Demon Gun Works, 76 & 77 Bath Street
Address 6 10 Bailey Street
Address 7 74 Whittall Street
Other Address 55 & 56 Price Street, Birmingham; 127 Cleethorpes Road, Grimsby, Lincolnshire; Unknown address in London.
In 1959 the Bath Street premises were given up and the company's only address was 74 Whittall Street.
The Midland Gun Company was founded in 1888 by Joseph Lightwood of Court, 16 Bath Street. All the Lightwood family, about 15 of them, were outworkers in the Birmingham gun trade, stockers, finishers, action filers and gun implement makers.
In the late 1880s the larger gun making firms such as P Webley & Son, W & C Scott and Westley Richards were producing the bulk of Birmingham's guns.
The smaller gun makers and outworkers did not have the expertise to market their products and services and found it difficult to compete with mass production. In 1888 Joseph was one of the first in the gun trade to produce a catalogue, as opposed to brochures and pamphlets, of the products the Lightwoods made or could supply from other trade makers. They established the Midland Gun Company.
Guy Smith fascination with the legendary Midland Gun Company began in 1957 when he accompanied his father to the firm’s 77 Bath Street factory to buy a gun. Four years later he had a shotgun built by this company to his own specifications.
From then on, he became an avid collector of Midland guns and cartridges and in 2016 he had the opportunity to register himself as the owner of the Midland Gun Company name. It was a proud moment and his next step was to attempt to unravel the history of the Midland, no easy task as no records existed. It was, though, a labour of love he discovered the history and now has written a book which you can obtain from his website.
Copies ordered from GuyNSmith.com.
Just love the start of the story of the Midland Gun Company I can relate to its humble beings by Joseph Lightwood surrounded by small craftsmen struggling on their own to sell and promote themselves, he recognizes together with all these talented craftsmen and trade as one business and so the Midland Gun Company was born along with its reputation grew.
Title of my painting “Ironman” famous song from the Birmingham heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist coming from working in heavy industrial where he lost the tip of his fingers he was not expected to be able to play again he overcame his disability and found a way to play to his determine ability not to give up he became an incredible guitarist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, singer Ozzy Osbourne, and drummer Bill Ward. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The background of their music kind of relates to the manufacture of guns and the Gun Quarter.
Thanks to Phyllis Nicklin and John Ball for these wonderful photos of Birmingham 1940’s -1970’s which inspired me to paint the history of the Gun Quarter.
If you are interested regarding to finding out more of the history, please look at these websites
For more information on the present owner of Midland Gun Company, please check out his website https://www.guynsmith.com/product/midland-gun/?from=midlandgun