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Historic Dickson gun returns home

June 2021
Historic Dickson gun returns home

We are very pleased to announce that the first breach-loading gun made by John Dickson and Son has been acquired and will be added to our Heritage Collection of guns and rifles on display in Dunkeld.

Gun No. 1936 was delivered on the 8th September 1858, but this is no ordinary gun. 

This gun would be the first breach-loading gun built by John Dickson that utilised a cartridge. 

Every gun and rifle made up to this point by Dickson had been muzzle-loading with a percussion cap for ignition. 

John Inglis of Redhall

The gun was delivered to John Inglis of Redhall House, the grand house where John was born in 1831. The son of John Inglis of Auchindinny and Redhall and great-grandson of George Inglis of Auchendinny who purchased the Redhall Estate in 1755. George immediately commissioned the building of Redhall House overlooking the Water of Leith and situated only three miles from the centre of Edinburgh. Architect James Robertson used the red sandstone from the nearby ruins of Redhall Castle, which had been destroyed by Oliver Cromwells troops in August 1650. The reclaimed stone was covered with harling and Inglis' project also included a stable block, a doo'cot, a walled garden and ornamental gardens. The house was completed in 1758 at a cost of £928 and was supposed to be in the style of a French chateau. 

Dickson Gun No. 1936

This gun was made as a 14 bore pin-fire gun with 30 inch iron twist barrels and using a solid brass 16 bore case. The action utilises a Lefaucheux type forward lever to close the barrels and lock them tight to the action and has non re-bounding locks. At some point, the action has been converted to centre-fire and the pin-fire hammers exchanged to accommodate this conversion.

We can only wonder how John Inglis was convinced by John Dickson that this was the future and he would be the first Dickson customer to have this new concept - loading a gun from the breach with a cartridge already loaded with shot, powder and an ignition source.,

The gun will now undergo a sympathetic restoration including converting the gun back to pin-fire and will be returned to Dickson's and placed in our Heritage Collection display - 163 years after it first left our workshop in Edinburgh.