Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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Gibbs Family


2 brothers, George Herbert and Roland, and a cousin George Percy Vernon.


George Herbert Gibbs

He was born on the 18th December 1888 in Bristol. The son of Herbert and Marian Gibbs. His father looked after the family gun business at their Corn Street offices and showroom. The brother of Ronald. He was educated at Clifton College from 1900 to 1905. He joined Clifton RFC in 1908-09. He was the father of the Bristol and England player (2 caps) George Anthony Gibbs (born 31st March 1920, died 26th Feb 2001) and the Harlequins and England player (2 caps) Nigel Gibbs (born 24th September 1922). Nigel was also a cricket blue at Oxford and head teacher at Colston's in 1965.


George Percy Vernon Gibbs

He was born on the 14th August 1894 in Clifton, Bristol. He was the son of George and Catherine Gibbs. His father was a rifle Manufacturer. He was the cousin of George Herbert Gibbs. He was educated at Clifton College from 1908 to 1912. He joined Clifton RFC in 1912-13. He worked in the family gun making business and is known to have rifled the barrels of many of the firm's firearms.

Between 1858 and 1890 his fathers shop was at 29 Corn Street, Bristol and then at 39 Corn Street. Guns were manufactured after 1873 in a separate building which had a work force of 90. George Gibbs supplied rifles for big game hunting in the 1860s; they were famous for designing the Farquaharson Metford .505 big game rifle which was exported all over the world. This successful rifle elicited the following testimonial, one to make today’s conservationists blench.

“On the 5th of this month while on safari, I was called at 5.30 a.m. as a native informed me that elephant were raiding his garden, so I rushed out, picked up the .505, and in half an hour came to a herd of seven elephants in the long grass just clear of the village. I got up to within 12 yards of them and dropped two, the rest made off and I followed, and owing to there being natives around, did not go far, and in a few minutes I came up to them again and dropped four more; only one was left and he returned to the first two, and I shot him at 6—7 yards. I think this is the finest christening any rifle ever had. Seven elephant before breakfast!”

This heartless account was written in Kenya in the 1920s. Not surprisingly, George Gibbs, son of the founder, was a crack shot who represented England and who once scored 57 consecutive bullseyes in front of King Edward VII in 1909. His father and uncle had both joined the Bristol Rifle Volunteers when they were re-formed in 1859 (Bristol’s 1798 Volunteers were the first in the country), and a craze for rifle drill and shooting-ranges resulted; when the Drill Hall was built at the top of Park Street in 1861, there were 1,000 members in 10 companies, and the firm of George Gibbs had the contract to supply them, since he was an expert designer and manufacturer of guns and maker of ammunition.

His father became Colonel of one of the Volunteer Corps, and he would, as a birthday treat, let his little daughter head the parade on a big horse. The Colonel, a keen sportsman, started the Clifton Beagles, and was a friend of W.G. Grace. He once became the talk of the town for shooting down an effigy of a parliamentary candidate, hung by pranksters from the Suspension Bridge.


Ronald Gibbs

He was born abt.1892 in Bristol. The son of Herbert and Marian Gibbs and the brother of George Herbert. He joined Clifton RFC in 1910-11