The History of Holland & Holland
The company was founded by Harris Holland (1806-1896) in the year 1835. Although accounts of his background are somewhat sketchy we know that Harris had a successful wholesale tobacco business in London. He was also a keen and enthusiastic shot and was regularly seen winning prestigious pigeon shoots at London clubs as well as leasing a grouse moor in Yorkshire.
Being a very accomplished shot, his friends convinced him to start his own gun business. It is not known when Harris started his own manufacturing operation, but it is estimated to be in the 1850s.
Not having children of his own Harris took on his nephew, Henry Holland (1845-1930) as an apprentice in 1861 and made him a partner in 1867. Nine years later Harris retired and the name of the company changed to Holland & Holland.
A significant year in the company's history is 1883 when Holland & Holland entered and won every category in 'The Field' magazine's rifle trials. The achievement set a new standard of excellence when facing the competition of the other London gun makers. Shortly after this outstanding feat, and equally important, the rights to register and protect the trademark 'The Royal' were granted in 1885.
Prudent business decisions helped the company through lean times in the gun-making industry. During the depression years, Colonel Jack Holland (1879-1957), son of Henry, sold the Wembley shooting grounds in 1932 and purchased land in Northwood which remains in use by the Shooting School today.
Not surprisingly WWII had a profound effect on game shooting depressing the UK market for best guns until 1957 when under the leadership of the new Managing Director, Malcolm Lyell (1922-2011), the company made repeated sorties to the USA, India, and Europe to generate excellent business in new and used guns for the following decades.
There followed a short period of public ownership until 1989 when the Chanel Group acquired the company and commenced a major expansion of the exclusive...
Today, more than 20-years later and nearly two centuries after Harris Holland's first steps, the company continues to thrive on a truly global scale.