Issue 14 August 2020

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No Rest for the Rigby

One London Gunmaker works through the crisis.

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Issues & Events|May 2020

Alone among London’s gunmakers, Rigby soldiers on while the country shuts down.

This week, I enquired of Marc Newton, the Managing Director at 13 Pensbury Place, if he and his family were safely secured in his country cottage and riding out the storm. To my surprise, he told me that he was camped-out at the factory, with his gunmakers, in splendid self-isolation, in order to carry-on with work as usual, after a fashion.

Marc and ‘Team Rigby’ as he proudly calls them are locked-in with sufficient work to keep them busy and sufficient beer to keep them relaxed in the evenings. They even have a makeshift gym in the car park. The factory has shower facilities and bedding arrangements have been improvised.

The lock-down for the team began on March 17th, well ahead of the national declaration. So, if none of them has the virus, as long as they stay put, their little group should be impervious to what goes on outside.

In the workshop, the gunmakers work on in isolation.

Invoking ‘blitz spirit’ may be rather hyperbolic and too tabloid for these pages but it is indicative of the creative thinking and leadership that has made Rigby the success it is today. That Marc is there with his men to show solidarity and lead from the front, despite the needs of his young family will be no surprise to those who know him. Ten days in when we spoke, neither of us had a clear idea of when the disruption will come to an end and working patterns can return to normal. This lock-down could go on for weeks.

Rigby customers can be re-assured that their guns and rifles continue to progress...

If it does, Rigby customers can be re-assured that their guns and rifles continue to progress as per the agreed timetable. This will, doubtless, be invaluable in ensuring cash-flow is not interrupted weeks, or months, from now and will add an important contribution to the ongoing viability of the gunmaker.

Years from now, when the modern history of Rigby is added to the books on the company, this episode will be a story within that story. I have no doubt that reacting positively in times of crisis and successfully negotiating the rapids of economic turmoil now will foster ever-greater team spirit in this traditionally run firm. That can only make it stronger as a unit and that strength will show in the products.

Marc told be he was incredibly proud of his gunmakers and their reaction to the situation. I’m sure that pride will be felt equally by customers who know the dedication that Rigby has to making their guns and looking after their needs.

Lunch time in lockdown at Rigby.

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Issues & Events|May 2020

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