The slim and splendid five-storey red brick Holland & Holland factory, built in 1898 by Henry Holland, may be found in the Harrow Road not far from London’s Paddington Station. It now stands proudly in isolation but continues to serve its purpose for the manufacture of the very finest craft-made guns. The late 1800’s were still in the days of gas lighting hence the need for tall windows and high ceilings to make maximum use of natural light with the engravers always favouring North light.
More than one hundred years later there seems to have been little change other than new windows and a fresh coat of paint. It is not until we look inside that the differences become very evident. Built in the days of overhead shafting and belt-driven machinery, this state-of-the-art Victorian ‘technology’ has now been replaced by the new. Today you will see CAD stations (for computer aided design) used to define the functional detail of every gun down to the most exacting tolerance, and CAM stations (for computer aided manufacture) to generate the thousands of programmes required to drive the latest high-tech machine tools.
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