Air Rifle

At the end of the 19th century competitive small bore air rifle target shooting rose in popularity to such as degree that at the beginning of the 20th century several national societies were set-up, such as the British Rifle League and the Society of Working Men’s Rifle Club. These two soon merged to form the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs.

Across the country teams were established and leagues formed. In Loughborough, the Loughborough and District Air Rifle Shooting League was set-up in 1907, with their first AGM held in April 1908 at the Unicorn Hotel[1]. The league was comprised of eleven teams[2] including the Loughborough Liberal Club, Hathern A.R.C., the Loughborough Church Institute, the Loughborough Clarence, Loughborough Working Men’s Club, the Loughborough Conservative Club, the Hathern Liberal Club, Messrs. Caldwell and Co., the Shepshed Liberal Club, the Shepshed Conservative Club and Messenger and Co. The Loughborough Liberal Club won the inaugural championship[3].

During the first couple of season’s the firm’s team, which apparently had its own range[4], included John Kerfoot, Joseph Kerfoot, George Kerfoot, A Utting, A. Sturgess, G. Brooks, H. Brooks, F. Edwards, G. Edwards, F. J. Smith, J. Smith, A. Simnett, L. Cook, A. Onslow, H. Lambert, A. Lambert, G. Hunt, W. Harriman and G. Clarke.[5]

Within a couple of years, the league’s composition had changed; although still eleven teams, the two Shepshed teams, Hathern Liberal’s and Loughborough Conservative Club had dropped out and replaced by teams from the Territorials, St. Mary’s, The Nottingham Manufacturing Company and the Adult School[6].

During these early years, the firm’s team appears to have won more matches that they lost. Initially there was no cup for the league winners; instead each member received gold-centered medals at the annual ceremony. A gold medal was also presented to the person with the best average throughout the league season[7].


References:

  1. The Loughborough Monitor and News, 2nd April 1908.
  2. The Nottingham Evening Post, 3rd December 1908.
  3. The Loughborough Monitor and News, 2nd April 1908.
  4. The Loughborough Monitor and News, 19th January 1909.
  5. The Loughborough Monitor and News, 12th December 1907;
    The Nottingham Evening Post 15th October 1908;
    The Loughborough Monitor and News, 26th November 1907.
  6. The Loughborough Monitor and News, 1st December 1911.
  7. The Nottingham Evening Post, 16th May 1910.