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National Rifle Association

Late in 1859 the National Rifle Association (NRA) was fomed and its aims included "the encouragement of Volunteer Rifle Corps and the promotion of rifle shooting throughout Great Britain."

NRA Annual Rifle Meeting

The NRA held their first rifle meeting on Wimbledon common in 1860 and with royal patronage and the daily papers and weekly-illustrated journals reporting widely on events, the 'Wimbledon fortnight' was marked for success.

The Queen's Prize

Queen Victoria fired the inaugural shot at the first NRA rifle meeting on 2 July 1860. The Queen further offered encouragement by founding an annual prize that Volunteers competed for.

Competitions

  • The 2000 yard Competitions - In 1865 the NRA instigated the first of two competitions held at the extreme range of 2000 yards. The rifle designed by William Metford and manufactured by George Gibbs was the only successful one.

The Wimbledon Rifle-Match

SPECIAL trains had been running from Waterloo to Wimbledon throughout the 'rifle-week,' as fast as passengers accumulated at the station. On Saturday, when the Queen's Prize was contended for, when what has been called the examination for double-first in rifle-shooting came on, crowds filled the carriages as fast as they could be got ready. We went down in the morning. Volunteers in all shades of uniform, with rifles, and pouches well stored with ammunition, were waiting on the platform, and took the train by assault as soon as it was formed.

Read more: The Wimbledon Rifle-Match

A Talk About The National Rifle Association Meeting At Wimbledon

You were at Wimbledon, at the great national rifle meeting. By all the accounts I have seen of it, it must have been a great success; but I should like to hear some of the details from an eye-witness; so tell me about it, for I was confined to my post here by work of all sort.

Read more: A Talk About The National Rifle Association Meeting At Wimbledon

Thoughts on The Last Wimbledon Meeting

It must not be forgotten that the National Rifle Association Meeting affords the only meeting-place of friendly competition of Army, Navy, Militia, Yeomanry, and Volunteers; the only place at which our comrades in arms from the Channel Islands, Canada, Australia, India and other Colonies and possessions can test their progress, and give visible demonstration of their Imperial brotherhood to our home soldiers, our sailors and Volunteers. I look forward to the influence which the proximity of Bisley to Aldershot will have on the shooting of our soldiers and the friendly rivalry between the services as amongst the most important of the advantages we shall gain.

Read more: Thoughts on The Last Wimbledon Meeting

Wimbledon & the Volunteers

Mention Wimbledon today and tennis will be the sport that springs to mind; in the latter part of the 19th Century however, the foremost sport would have been rifle shooting. From 1860 until 1889 the National Rifle Association (NRA) held their annual rifle meeting on Wimbledon Common, with attendance in the thousands… and that was just the riflemen! So who were these riflemen and what were they doing at Wimbledon?

Read more: Wimbledon & the Volunteers

The Queen's Prize

The National Rifle Association was founded in 1859 and held its first annual rifle meeting at Wimbledon in 1860. Queen Victoria fired the inaugural shot at the first rifle meeting on 2 July 1860. The Queen further offered encouragement by founding an annual prize that Volunteers competed for in two stages; originally the first stage was fired at 300, 500 and 600 yards, and the second at 800, 900 and 1000 yards. Prize money was £250.

Read more: The Queen's Prize