Board of Ordnance, Gun Barrel Proof House, The Tower, Bagot Street, Birmingham

My Dad Leslie Bracey who lived in the back to backs of Little Shadwell Street in #Birmingham’s Gun Quarter, carried shotguns to the #Birmingham Proof House before the Second World War when he worked for a #Birmingham gun maker in the Gun Quarter.

The Iron Room

Sandstone block which was part of a wall that once marked the extremity of the Tower site. Author’s image.

For most of the 18th century, muskets ordered from Birmingham contractors by the Ordnance Board were either proof tested to the Tower standard, within the grounds of the gun maker by an Ordnance Board inspector, or taken to London to be proved.1

In 1755, Board of Ordnance viewers were stationed at Birmingham to gauge and view barrels made by contractors for the Ordnance. Those that passed the test were then sent to London for proof. In 1777, with the increase in demand caused by the American War of Independence, the Ordnance in Birmingham established a warehouse to try to ease the selection process, but this caused the Ordnance viewers to become even more discriminating, which made the process even slower. Those barrels that passed selection faced a nine-day journey…

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