The Proof House was designed by John Horton and built by a group of Birmingham Gun makers in 1813, one of only two-gun proof houses in the country the other being in London. This is Grade II Listed building as you enter there is a notable relief display of heraldry over three meters wide above the front entrance by William Hollins. Which includes the Hanoverian coat-of-arms, the Birmingham shield with crossed swords, proof mark and a profusion of muskets, pistols, cannon balls, flags and drums. The present Jacobean-style gateway dates from 1883.
Purpose and brief history of Proof House
Musket barrels were made like most tubes, by rolling metal then joining the two edges at a seam, which inevitably became the weak point in the product. Since many gun barrels would fail, it was sensible to proof them before assembling everything into a functioning weapon. Many manufacturers already proofed their products - by firing them with a much higher than normal powder charge. But to increase the overall reputation of gun barrels from Birmingham, Parliament authorized an independent Gun Barrel Proof House in 1813 - built and run by the gun trade. The Proof House still functions today.
Proof meaning is a compulsory and statutory testing of every new shotgun or other small arm before sale to ensure, so far as it is practicable, its safety in the hands of the user. Reproof is the similar testing of a small arm which has previously been proved. Both necessarily involve the firing through the barrel of a considerably heavier load than is customary in the shooting field, thereby setting up pressure and stress on barrel and action much more than excess the pressure generated by standard load cartridges. Such pressure should, and is intended to, disclose weakness in guns, whether new or used, for it is preferable that weakness be found at a Proof House rather than in the field, where personal injury may result.
The Proof House, which is still very much continues today, along with running museum which may be visited prior arrangement for more details http://www.gunproof.com/Museums/museums.html
The title of the painting is in dedication to a local singer, Rich McMahon, writer of Irish folk music his reputation as a performer around home area of the midlands including wider country the Irish community who sang in my local pub sadly passed away May 2015 at the young age of 42 and is deeply missed by his friends and familyand his wife Maggie. I shall always remember the day & place where I heard the shocking news from one of his close friends.
Our Lady along with their mates have arranged for a big surprise for her sweetheart to come along to visit the museum and find out more about Birmingham Gun Quarter and its history.
If you wish to view this painting please visit Gunmakers Arms, Birmingham