When my father Geoff Wilson left school he had no desire to follow in his father's foot- steps (solicitor). Instead he served his time with a Birmingham gunsmith. Father opened his first shop in his home town of Skipton, but after less than a year war broke out, and he found himself in the Royal Ordnance Corps. His skills with all types of firearms made this section of the Forces a natural choice and he was soon serving with the Royal Armoured Corps in North Africa.Later he was posted to Italy where he was in charge of a base depot servicing machine guns. After service in Greece and Palestine he was demobilised in 1946. The next two years were spent alone in a tiny cottage between Newton Stewart and Wigtown, where father worked as a professional wildfowler and draft-net fisherman. In the summer months he would fish two tides a day. The winters were spent on the marshes wildfowling and the weekends as a guide taking other guns on the marshes. This lifestyle was paradise to father. He had found the cottage at the beginning of the war whilst in Scotland requisitioning firearms at the time of the invasion scare, and went straight back to the cottage after he was demobbed.It was during the war that father met my mum to be, and they were married in the cottage. But life in the wilderness was not for mum and they soon returned to mum's hometown, Carlisle. Some years later Father opened a gun shop in Carlisle, first on Victoria Place and then on Port road, after six years trading, he joined County Motors and became sales manager. Then after some years the shop in Portland Square was opened, this was the time I came into the business, I was eighteen years old the year was 1975.I served my time with father firstly on Barrel blacking and refinishing, servicing of shotguns and rifles. I loved the work and after three or four years I was doing most the repair work in the shop. We had also moved into fishing tackle, the shop was a bit small and soon we were on the move to Portland Place. Here we had more space for the shop, and separate work shop, store room and barrel blacking room which is a mucky job. So there we are, or I am. Having started with father when I was eighteen, I have enjoyed my time in the trade. There are ups and downs like all jobs. I have made many friends and acquaintances over the years, and my son David has been working with me since 2008. I hope he too enjoys the ups and downs of working in a family business.
The late Geoff Wilson at his workbench at the old Portland Square premises.