Arthur Edwin Hodges (1900 - 1983)

Born 15 Apr 1900, Seven Kings, Ilford, Essex.  Son of Lionel Frederic Thomas HODGES (1866 - 1941), and Mary Elizabeth DUCKER (1864 - 1949).

Married Winifred Mary RAVEN 1925, Chelmsford.

Died 29 Apr 1983, Horsham , Sussex


1900 Named after deceased uncle Arthur Edwin Charles Hodges who died suddenly aged 26 in 1890 of unknown cause.

1905 Moved to 27, Barnsbury Park, Islington.

1912 Moved to Mountnessing, Essex.

1915 Starts gunmaking apprenticeship at Henry Atkin at age of 14.

1916/7 called up for service towards the end of WW1. Sent to France (probably with his deceased brother’s regiment the 10th bn. Essex) but hostilities had ceased by the time he got to the front line.

1918 Continued apprenticeship to his father Lionel. Could 'lock,stock and barrel a gun'. 

1922 Living with family at 'Lyndock', Margaretting, Essex.

1924/5 moves with family to large estate at Oaklands, Welwyn, Herts.

1925 Married Winifred Raven and moves into "Hilden", Oaklands, Welwyn near parents home at The Ridge.

1930 Director of Henry Atkin Ltd.

1934 only child Donald John born

1939 Considered to be in a reserved occupation when WW2 breaks out. Joined the ARP and drove an ambulance for the duration. Atkin made military guns for the War Office.

1940 Became Managing Director of Henry Atkin Ltd on father's retirement

1941 Inherits 'Hilden' on the death of his father, and with sister Kathleen Mary (1894-1979) becomes an Atkin director.

1942 Arthur became Atkins’ majority share owner.

1943 Arthur earned £600 per annum as chairman and MD of Atkin Ltd.

1948 Became a member of the Long Sufferers association, a gunmakers society.

1950 approx, briefly employed his cousin Maxwell John Page’s son , Maxwell Groom Lane Hodges as a salesman at the 88 Jermyn St. showroom. However Max wanted adventure and left after a year or so to pursue an Army career, later seeing action in Suez. Max remembers Arthur showing him the ropes at Atkin and even taking him round the Holland and Holland workshop on one occasion. He also says that Arthur was not always easy to get on with although he was very grateful to him to be given employment after his career in bespoke tailoring had faltered.

1951 October - became Liveryman of Gunmakers Company and Freeman of the City of London. An article from this time quotes Arthur as saying that the Hodges family had been gunmakers for around 150 years i.e. around 1800. No confirmation of this found to date.

1952 Arthur moved the business to smaller and cheaper premises at 27 St James’ St, SW1 in the basement of Harris's chemists shop, still retaining a showroom and a workshop. Wife Winifred became company secretary.

1956, March, Arthur oversaw merger of Atkin with Charles Hellis and Sons Limited.

Around 1956 Arthur sold his house in Welwyn when his wife Winnie became very ill. Bought a house in Ingatestone next to his wife's sister in anticipation of his wife needing constant care. Winnie died in hospital in 1958 and never moved into the new house. Unmarried daughter Kathleen sold her own Welwyn property and moved in with her father.

At some point in the 1950s Arthur acquired
sports shop F J Cole Ltd. in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, allowing West Country Atkin owners to be better served. Arthur worked from there one day a week. The rest of the week it was run by a manager to whom Arthur sold the business when he retired.

1st April 1960 Atkin merger with Stephen Grant & Joseph Lang Ltd. Arthur became joint chairman and managing director of the merged company with William Robert Henderson Robson. Arthur remained MD of Henry Atkin Ltd. which operated as a separate entity and took hands-on responsibility for organising the production side of the business. This suited him well as he
preferred the workshop to the boardroom. Business moved to Grant and Lang’s premises at 7 Bury St, SW1.

1961- 66 Leslie Alexander Paul joined company and was apprenticed to Arthur as a jobber-finisher. Other apprentices included Robin Elledge and Peter Godfrey.

1963 Jan. Arthur sells his shares. Arthur and Kathleen move to Brighton.

1964 Ken Duglan joined Atkin, Grant and Lang as an apprentice (later to become owner).

1964 Arthur retired on 30 December and visited various relatives on a series of long holidays abroad.

1983 Died in Horsham, Sussex.   

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