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Here are a nice appearing true pair of Beesley Standard Grade (Best) SLE with Sir Joseph Whitworth barrels and an interesting history. (How’s that for a zeugma!)
Built in 1900 for the Hon. Lucius O’Brien, the pair was acquired by L. Pilkington in 1936 from the Beesley shop at 2 St. James. As is shown by the stamp on the case label, this gun was sent back to AG&L , the firm that purchased F. Beesley in 1939 from Frederick’s son Herbert Phillip, probably for an annual service, possibly as late as the 1960s, when AG&L was still at 7 Bury St.
The Pilkington family owned at least 30 Beesley guns over several generations.
For more information, contact:
12901 Cabela Dr.
Fort Worth, TX 76177
As you know Frederick Beesley invented at least one try gun. (We know where it is but cannot say!) He, like most sensible gunmakers, was a champion of proper instruction, technique and gun fit. He used various shooting grounds and instructors in the London area as you’ll see in our book.
Recently, my wife and I took lessons and fittings with Keith Lupton of Keith Lupton Shooting Schools. He is English trained as an instructor, I believe taught with the Holland and Holland Shooting School, was a member of the British shooting team, and now has a private fitting and teaching ground in Dover Plains, NY for clay games/sports (you pick the expression), driven and walkup shooting. Having had lessons and fittings at Hollands with the late Ken Davies, West London with the late David Heathrington (sp?), and many US schools I can say Keith is in the top echelon. His grounds, although a work in progress are purpose-built in the British fashion. It’s not just, “Let’s just take a golf cart around a (crowded) sporting clays course and see how you get on.” You have the ground all to yourself.
He has years of experience teaching ladies and gentlemen of all ages. Indeed, he has a myriad of appliances for measuring your present guns, all manner of try-guns but does not sell guns. However, I do know of an occasion where he gently dissuaded a demanding father from dictating a certain gun for his daughter – just because it was what he shot! Keith is keen on eye dominance and suggests various ways of compensating for it. He has seen just about every situation, including mine three times in the last few decades! Best of all, he has an engaging, encouraging, calming way about him that I find rare. Too many instructors today have a “type A” personality that frankly makes me nervous – not Keith.
Keith checks mechanical convergence of your guns’ shooting. Not many schools do this.
I know that he is commissioned by some clients to travel with them coaching around the world, having just returned from trip to Argentina. Give him a try; his rates are reasonable and you’ll probably learn more in an hour with him than 2 days with some other “instructors.” Email him – he will get back to you! If you mention this site I promise he won’t hang up on you!
Remember: Jack Nicklaus, the famous champion golfer, used to go to his coach before the beginning of the Pro Season and say “Teach me to play golf.”
This article appears in the April/May issue of Fieldsports Magazine (FSM) provoked by a very thoughtful letter from Mark Crudginton of George Gibbs, Ltd. reacting to Tim and my first article “Conventional Wisdom” that appeared in FSM Feb./March 2015. He challenged us to disprove the “conventional wisdom” that Frederick Beesley was “dismissed” from Purdey for “spending too much time in the pub.”
After extensive primary and secondary research, I reckon you’ll find that we did disprove this received opinion about Frederick. The real person who was dismissed, unheralded and unmentioned in the usual tomes on gunmakers, will surprise and perhaps shock you!
Our thanks to Mark, Marcus Janssen, Mike Barnes and all our colleagues at FSM for printing an account that seems to be the historical truth.
Hope you enjoy it! We’d appreciate any comments.
W & T
Thanks for sticking with us on this cobbled up website; working on the Beesley book!