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News from John Dickson & Son - December 2023

December 2023
News from John Dickson & Son - December 2023

December Business Hours

A Break In The Action - Podcast on John Dickson and Son

Vintage Gun Inventory Update

John Dickson and Son at Dallas Safari Club 2024

Owners Story - My Grandfathers gun in New Zealand

December Business Hours

Please note our final day of business in 2023 will be Friday 22nd December and we will be closing at 12pm. 

We have decided to take an extended break during the festive season and will not reopen until Monday 8th January 2024.

If you require to get in contact with us during this time, please use the contact form  here

A Break In The Action

Podcast on John Dickson & Son

In the latest episode of A Break In The Action, Ryan Doughty speaks to J-P Daeschler, Managing Director for John Dickson and Son, about the history of the gunmaker and how the Round-Action design puts them in a class by themselves. 
You can listen to the whole episode here

Vintage Gun Inventory Update

We have just added some really interesting and rare Scottish guns to our Vintage Gun Inventory, including:

We also have a number of interesting Scottish guns currently going through the workshop, including:

  • Mortimer & Son 12 gauge boxlock ejector - best quality damascus barrelled gun made in 1897
  • John Robertson 20 gauge boxlock ejector - from the man behind the success of Boss & Co.
  • Daniel Fraser 12 gauge boxlock ejector - new long stock, excellent newer steel barrels
  • William McCall 12 gauge boxlock ejector - new long stock, excellent newer steel barrels
  • John Dickson 12 gauge non-ejector - made in 1931 for a local Brewery family

John Dickson & Son at DSC 2024

January 11th -> 14th 2024

January 2024 will see John Dickson & Son returning to the USA to attend the Dallas Safari Club Convention at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas, Texas.

Dickson's Managing Director, J-P Daeschler, will be on hand to meet with customers, and if you would like to make an appointment to meet with him at the show, you can make arrangements through our contact form  here

Owners Story

My Grandfathers Gun In New Zealand

Every year we receive many enquiries from around the world regarding Dickson guns and the current custodians looking to find out more about their gun - when was it made? who was it made for?  We are very fortunate that the Dickson order and delivery records are fairly comprehensive but one question usually cannot be answered - how did it end up in my part of the world?

We were contacted in November by the owner of a 12 gauge Dickson pin-fire gun, whose family is settled in Auckland, New Zealand, and it was a gun that had belonged to their grandfather and now been passed down. We were asked for the provenance of the gun and, if at all possible, speculate on how the gun made it's way to New Zealand. The background on the gun was their grandfather had worked part-time at a gunshop in the 1970's in Auckland and this shop had specialised in clearances of firearms from deceased estates.

According to the records, Dickson's had only made 413 pin-fire guns, the first in 1858 and the last one in 1877 (excluding the 13 guns made later for Charles Gordon). Those that have survived have usually been converted to centre-fire, as the pin-fire cartridge had become obsolete, and so it was refreshing to see a Dickson pin-fire in clean and unmolested original condition, in its original case and loading tools and apparatus. John Dickson & Son Gun No. 2154 was ordered by D. H. Lee Esqr. in January of 1861 and delivered on the 6th July 1861, as a 12 gauge pin-fire gun with 30 inch barrels, elevated rib and regulated for 3 drams powder and 1 1/8oz shot.

David Henry Lee was born in 1826 in Edinburgh. He was the fifth son of eleven children to Rev. John Lee and Rose Masson, daughter of Thomas Masson, Minister of Dunnichen. The Reverend Dr John Lee FRSE was a Scottish academic and polymath, and the Principal of the University of Edinburgh from 1840 to 1859, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1844. A few of David Henry’s siblings would also be renowned academics and professionals including:

  • Alexander Henderson Lee, Civil Engineer
  • Thomas Masson Lee, Medical Doctor
  • Prof. William Lee, Professor of Church History at Glasgow University
  • Robert Lee - Lord Lee, a Scottish lawyer and judge

David Henry would become a merchant and joined the firm of John Borradaile & Co. of Calcutta, India, where he would become a partner in the firm and established himself as a trader and tea plantation owner. He married Clara Moubray, daughter of William Hobson Moubray (the Moubray’s of Otterstone in Fife were also Dickson gun customers) on the 28th April 1852 and they went on to have three children - John Henry Alexander Lee (1853 – 1927), Amy Florence Lee (1862 – 1944), and David Henry Lee (1864 – 1866). By 1862, David Henry had returned to Great Britain and spent his time between London and Edinburgh running his own merchant company. David Henry Lee died in Edinburgh on the 18th December 1866, aged 40 and is buried in the Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh. On David Henry's death it is likely that his son, John Henry, took possession of his gun. 

John Henry Alexander Lee was born in Calcutta in 1853, where his father was working. John Henry was educated in Scotland and then joined the merchant fleet that was sailing between the UK and Australia, finally settling in New South Wales in 1877. He was heavily involved with the New South Wales Naval Artillery Volunteers and eventually spent a little time in the tail end of the Boer War. When war broke out in August 1914 he was made transport officer in Sydney, handling the embarkation of units of the Australian Imperial Force. He filled this appointment until the end of July 1918. John Henry died at the home of one of his daughters, who lived in Auckland, New Zealand, on the 18th December 1927.

We could now see that John Henry's daughter's family had likely held onto the gun until it was cleared by the gunshop and transferred into the possession of the current custodians. It is very difficult to be able to complete the story of a guns travels through its life so far, but in this rare case, we were able to complete the story and solve that mystery of how a Dickson gun was now 11,300 miles from Edinburgh, where it was made 162 years ago.

If you would like to find out more about your Dickson, Alexander Henry, James MacNaughton, Alex Martin, William Garden or Mortimer & Son gun or rifle, please fill in this form and we will see what we can find.