A rare and very unusual percussion pistol approx .50 calibre, engraved Lt. Col William Thompson Bank of England. Manufactured by Mortimer. Circa 1840. The 5 inch octagonal barrel engraved with the makers name H. W. MORTIMER & SON. LONDON. Finely engraved side plates and trigger guard. Swivel captive ramrod. A very unusual shaped hammer. Finely chequered grips. The back strap engraved in a silver plaque - LT. Col William Thompson Bank of England. William Thompson (baptised 23 January 1792 – 10 March 1854) was an English businessman who was Lord Mayor of London and Member of Parliament. He served as Chairman of Lloyd's of London (1826–33), treasurer (1826–29), vice-president (1829–43) and president (1843–54) of the Honourable Artillery Company and a director of the Bank of England from 1827 to his death. He also served as Lieutenant-Colonel of the Royal London Militia (1835–51) and Colonel from 1851 to his death. During the Gordon Riots in 1780, a detachment of the Foot Guards successfully defended the Bank of England from a violent mob. This event decided that the Bank Of England would pay for a detachment of soldiers, usually provided by the Brigade of Guards, to defend the Bank. This was named The Bank Picquet. The detachment would march from their barracks, initially from the Tower of London and later Wellington or Chelsea Barracks. Once at the bank there were two sentry posts, one outside the Counting House and another outside the bullion vaults. The officer was given half a bottle of port and the right to invite a friend or two to dinner in the bank. The other ranks were given a pint of beer with their dinner and one brand new shilling, two for a sergeant to buy tea and a cake in the canteen. The Guards wore plimsolls in the Bank to protect the floor. From 1963 the Bank Picquet travelled by military vehicle clad in service dress and armed with automatic weapons, with the emphasis on security moving from ceremonial to tactical deployment. Improved security features and armed police made the guard unnecessary and the service ended on 31 July 1973. Hence the term as safe as the bank of England due to it's security. This pistol is in good overall condition. Nice crisp action. A unique percussion pistol which appears to have belonged to Lieutenant William Thompson the Director of the Bank of England (1827-1854). Ref 3457.
This is an obsolete antique item and is sold as a collectors item only.
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