Historical information

Philip Webley was born in 1813, he was the younger brother of James Webley who was born in 1807. Both were born in Birmingham. Towards the end of the 1800s, the firm claimed establishment in 1790, this must have been the date James and Philip's father or grandfather originally established a bullet or gun implement making business. It was not, as is often stated, the date William Davis established his business. Philip Webley was apprenticed in 1827 to Benjamin Watson. James Webley also seems to have been apprenticed but to who is not known.

In 1834 James and Philip established their partnership as percussioners, lock filers and gun makers at 7 Weaman Street,Birmingham which was William Davis' old premises Davis, a gun implement maker, mould and toolmaker, died in 1831 and his wife Sarah inherited the business at 84 Weaman Street which she ran with her daughter, Caroline. On 5 January 1838 Philip Webley married Caroline.

Philip was recorded at 84 Weaman Street from 1838 as a gun percussioner, lock filer and gun maker and this is when the partnership was last recorded, but the brothers apparently continued to co-operate until 1845 when Philip reportedly sold his interest to James and used the money to purchase Sarah Davis' business. Even then, they worked together particularly about the design and manufacture of percussion revolvers.
Philip Webley was recorded in the 1851 census as a 38-year-old gun and pistol implement manufacturer living at 84 Weaman Street with his wife Caroline they had four sons and one daughter Thomas William, Emma, and Philip Jnr, and two other sons, James, and Henry and Philip's cousin, also lived with the family probably as a nurse, Sarah Haywood.
On 4 February 1853 Philip Webley registered patent No. 335 for a hinged revolver and on 14 September 1853 he registered patent No. 2127 for improvement for the first muzzle-loading percussion cap and ball revolver which became known as the "Longspur".
In 1859 Philips son Thomas William, aged 21, was made a partner in the firm, which then changed its name to P Webley & Son and described itself as "Gun and Pistol Makers and Patent Revolving Pistol Makers", probably exploiting Philip Webley's patent No. 305 of February 1853 for a revolver frame and lock, and its improvement under patent No. 2127 of September 1853. Thomas later went on to managed the shotgun side of the business.
From about 1863 up to the First World War, the firm made rook rifles for Holland & Holland. From the 1890s they supplied magazine rifles.
In 1863 and 1864 the firm's address was given as 83-84 Weaman Street, but from late 1864 to 1875 their address was 84 Weaman Street.
By 1874 the firm had a showroom in London at an unknown address. In 1875 the firm expanded into 82-84 and 88-89 Weaman Street.


The shotgun is not in very good condition is unusable as a firearm and is not very significant historically or valuable, although made by a well known and respected manufacturer of firearms there are many better examples of shotguns made by P Webley and Son in collections and for sale. This particular example is of a standard pattern for utilitarian use of which many were made.

Physical description

Pin fire double barrel cartridge loading shotgun, the stock is of varnished walnut, the shotgun is in a wooden box, box has hinged lid and dovetail joints.

Inscriptions & markings

Raised inscription on butt has an image of "dog carrying a bird in his mouth" and another image of a "anchor and chain". Inscribed to both sides of the locks "P Webley and Son", Maker's mark and proof marks for black powder shotguns on undersides of both barrels. Proof marks used are for Birmingham.