Gun Barrel Proof House – Trophy Refurbishment

The nine Nadfas volunteers have completed the restoration of the Trophy, which has been re-assembled and hung in its original position, on the main staircase of the Proof House in Digbeth.

Working as a team, for a total of 360 hours, the project was started in January 2006 and finished in November 2007.

It was supervised by Simon Cane, Head of Collection Care at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, together with Bill Harding, the Founder, and Curator of the Proof House Museum.

The trophy was originally erected in the Hall of the Gunsmiths’ Company, London, in February 1872.

The Hall was dismantled in 1927 and the trophy, except the shield containing the names of the members of the London Court who held office in 1872, which the London Company naturally wish to retain, was moved to Birmingham.

Today, the trophy consists of 154 military bayonets, 287 swords, 114 hammers, 526 ramrods and various springs and small parts; over 1080 metal items in total.

The photographs show the trophy beautifully restored to its former glory, together with the volunteers resplendent in their Proof House ties for the gentlemen and scarves for the ladies; standing in front of the trophy, prior to a splendid lunch, provided by the Guardians of the Proof House.

Also present were the Proof Master Roger Hancox, Clive Lemon Chairman of the Guardians, Bill Harding the Curator, Mary Price the Birmingham Nadfas Co-ordinator of Heritage Volunteers, Simon Cane Head of Collection Care and his wife Deborah who is the Collection Care Officer BM&AG.

The Proof Master toasted the volunteers and thanked them for their enthusiasm and the application of elbow grease involved, in their two year project, to which Ross Bellamy responded.

The next project is the cleaning of the Silver Collection at the Birmingham Assay Office, in preparation for the bicentenary celebrations in 2009 of Mathew Boulton’s death, under the guidance of Dr Sally Baggott, the Curator, and Archivist.

By Ross Bellamy

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