New to the Rigby Campfire blog, each month we’ll be catching up with the company’s managing director, Marc Newton, who’s been at the helm of John Rigby & Co. since it returned to London in 2013. Join us on the journey and read the latest news from inside Rigby’s Pensbury Place workshop, what exciting projects the team have been working on and read stories about the most interesting people they’ve encountered this past month.
Before we begin, let’s find out from Marc what’s been his proudest achievements at Rigby and his goals for the future.
For me it’s been the return of Rigby itself. It’s something I and a lot of people around the world never really thought would happen, but to have the opportunity to awaken this sleeping giant has been really very special.
On the same level or maybe more so has been putting together the Rigby team, many of whom are new to the trade. Seeing them develop and become leading figures in the industry over the last few years, through the experiences they have gained at Rigby is a great feeling.
Since Rigby’s return to London, we have risen extremely quickly and had to re-build its reputation. Historically that has been our goal, but I think now we’ve reached a point where Rigby is back and is totally accepted at the top-table of British gunmaking. Moving forward it’s a case of developing from here and making sure the company is fit and healthy for anything to come.
Tell us a little about what’s happening in the Rigby workshop?
At the moment we are looking at extending our building by putting a three-storey extension onto one side, to double our workshop capacity. We’ve got a significant number of people in there now, with 12 gunmakers, but we would like to increase this number to near 20 in order to keep up with the demand for our Rising Bite, Big Game, London Best and Highland Stalker rifles. They are all extremely popular models and we always need more and more people to build them in our workshop.
What exciting projects is your team working on?
The Rising Bite shotgun which we relaunched earlier this year and has been really well received. We have numerous other secret projects in the background and perhaps new models, so keep your eyes peeled for what’s yet to come. At Rigby we never rest on our laurels.
We are also working on some special individual rifles and sets of rifles for clients, including a set of eight guns for one customer. He is having all the Rigby proprietary calibres in bolt-rifle and double rifle, along with a pair of shotguns which will be beautifully presented in a wooden cabinet, with hunting journals for each of the guns.
These sets are a lovely way for us to showcase what we are doing, rather than just individual pieces. Trying to make guns look the same is challenging but rather exciting at the same time.
Have you any events coming up in the near future which you’re particularly looking forward to?
The Game Fair which this year returns to Hatfield House in Hertfordshire over the weekend of Friday 26 to Sunday 28 July. It’s a great event to take all the team to. Going to The Game Fair is one of those Great British traditions and is very much like Glastonbury but with guns. There we’ll be unveiling a new project our team has been working on, called ‘Rigby Art’, so make sure you visit our booth on Gunmakers’ Row to find out more.
Have you met any interesting people or received any notable messages from customers over the past month?
Yes, a gentleman called Glenn Kendall, from Miami beach, Florida who’s a collector of double rifles. We’ve just delivered him a Rising Bite rifle in .416 Rigby – the first .416 Rigby Rising Bite double we’ve ever produced, which he’ll be using for dangerous game hunting in Africa.
Talking to Glenn about his experience with Rigby he said it was the best he had ever received when ordering a bespoke double, having had numerous others built by British gunmakers over the years. Glenn flew over to London a few times during the manufacturing process for meetings with myself and the team, but was particularly impressed with the communication he received, saying that in the two to three years it takes to build the rifle, nothing was ever lost in communication. He received regular updates and was that impressed by the service that he will be writing a letter to the owners of Rigby to commend the team and service.
Before we finish, is there anything else you would like to share with Rigby’s Campfire readers?
The bottom line of it all is thank you to everyone who has supported the Rigby brand from buying a hat, to taking an interest or ordering a Rising Bite. Rigby is only here because of the team in the factory and shop and the people at home, who are buying the products and supporting the brand. These people have helped bring this amazing company back and given us all a job in doing so. We’ve very humbled and grateful.