A BIT OF HISTORY
Rifle shooting began in Lloyds Bank in 1910, when a “miniature rifle” competition was held between sections of St. James’s Street Branch. The term “miniature rifle” was in vogue at the time, when the War Office was concerned at the accuracy of the Boer’s shooting and was taking steps to encourage what we today call smallbore shooting; using rifles having a calibre of .22 inch.
By 1923, the Lloyds Bank Rifle Club, as it had then become, was affiliated to the National Smallbore Rifle Association – as Life Member No.14. The St. James’s Inter-Section Competition developed into the Ferguson Cup Inter-branch competition for smallbore teams.
The Club lacked one essential facility at this time – a range, and it was not until 1972 that the Bank built an indoor smallbore range in the basement of the Monument Building in the City. This was used until 1995 when the facility was removed, after which the Club returned to its former home at the Lord Wakefield Range by Blackfriars Bridge.
In the late 1970s, the smallbore section began holding its own annual open meeting at the Hampshire County range, near Farnham in Surrey, and this was held every year until 1996, by which time dwindling numbers of competitors made the event uneconomic to run. Today, a smallbore tour is held each year in Cambridgeshire during November.
Although inter-bank shooting began in 1897 at Bisley, fullbore shooting using .303 inch calibre rifles at Bisley, in Surrey, did not begin in earnest until the early 1920s. After the Second World War, the fullbore section began its series of annual tours, mainly to the south and west of England, though venturing once to Scotland. Perhaps the most significant change for fullbore shooting came in the 1960s when the new, more accurate, 7.62mm rifles took over from the traditional .303 weapons.
After Lloyds Bank and TSB merged, the Club’s name officially changed to Lloyds TSB Rifle Club in 1999.
The Club will never have its own fullbore range, as distances from 300 to 1,000 yards are required, but it does have a unique clubhouse at Bisley – the old Bisley Railway Station, Ticket Office and with a sleeping car alongside the platform for overnight accommodation. The last train to use the Bisley branch line ran in 1952.
Club members have achieved great success over the years, both in teams and as individuals and the Club has frequently held both the United Banks Smallbore and Fullbore Championship Trophies. Within the current active membership, we have 15 members who have shot for their respective County teams; and of those, 8 have shot at National or International level – including the Captains of the 1987 Great Britain Fullbore Rifle Team to Canada, the 1992 Great Britain Fullbore Rifle Team to New Zealand, the 1993 National Rifle Association Team to the Channel Islands and the 1999 Great Britain Team in the Palma World Long Range Target Rifle Championships. The Club has had members in Great Britain touring teams almost every year since 1990 and in 1995, four members went to Canada as part of the first ever fullbore team to represent England overseas.
The Club is also honoured to have amongst its membership a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist.
Smallbore rifle shooting, based on postal league competitions, centres around the 25yds range in the City, which is open on Tuesday evenings each week; Club equipment is available. For those people who cannot get to the range, or who prefer to shoot at a local club, the United Banks Winter League offers the chance of shooting against opposition of the highest standard.
Outdoor smallbore shooting with the Club occurs at two events. Firstly, our “Spring Meeting” in April which consists of the London v Country Match, Club AGM and Annual Dinner followed, on the next day, by the United Banks Smallbore Rifle Championships. Secondly, the Smallbore Tour, mentioned above, which we run in the Autumn.
Fullbore shooting is predominantly at Bisley, Surrey, where Club teams compete regularly in competitions from April to October against other banks, clubs, County teams, universities and the Armed Forces. A number of practice targets are also arranged throughout the year for any member of the Club, of any standard, to shoot and be coached, using Club equipment if required.
As mentioned previously, an annual Fullbore Tour is organised, at which we often compete in a large open meeting as individuals and have team matches against the strongest local teams and counties.
Only smallbore and fullbore prone rifle disciplines are supported by the Club.