Purdey was established in London in 1814, the year before the battle of Waterloo. The founder, James Purdey, had previously worked as a head stocker for Joseph Manton, the foremost gunmaker of his time. Purdey set up his gun-making business in Princes Street and soon moved to Manton’s former premises in Oxford Street in 1826. As early as 1838, Queen Victoria is recorded as having bought a pair of Purdey pistols. James Purdey the Younger took over the running of the company from his father in 1858. Over his lifetime there was rapid change and development in the design of guns and rifles, essentially moving from muzzle-loading flintlocks in the 1820s to breech-loading hammerless ejectors by the 1880s. James the Younger was always at the forefront of advances in the design and building of his guns and rifles and took out several patents for technical innovations over the years, many of which were adopted by other gunmakers.