Updated 14th May 2020
Burnham Target Shooting Club, originally called Burnham Rifle Club, was founded in 1899.
Burnham Rifle Club was one of the many formed following on from the NRA being granted Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1894 and continues to this day for the “Promotion of Marksmanship in the interests of the Defence of Realm and permanence of military Air..”. Our military riflemen were reputed to be such poor marksmen at the time! This need arose again during the 1914-1918 First War and again for the 1939-1945 World War II when the Home Guard (Dads Army) used the club range for training.
The club was first registered with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and was no.2 on the membership roll. Subsequently registering with the National Smallbore Rifle Association (NSRA) in 1901 as well.
George Turton – Private 7331, 1st Buckinghamshire (Volunteer Company), Slough Company, 1st Battalion, Oxfordshire Light Infantry. Fought in the Boer War in South Africa 1899-1902. Died of eneteric fever at Kroonstad, 27th January 1902 aged 22,. Sailed from Southampton on April lst 1901. Son of Mr. Frank Turton, of “The Forester’s Arms,” Chalvey. See also Aylesbury Boer War Memorial and Oxfordshire Light Infantry Boer War Memorial.. Extract from the Slough Observer 1/2/1902, page 8 :
George Webster and his family farmed Dorneywood and were corn and coal merchants in Burnham High Street. George Webster presents The Webster Challenge Cup to Burnham Target Shooting Club 1904.
William Grenfell, (became 1st Baron Desborough in 1905) was an athlete, sportsman and politician. He was the first President of the British Olympic Association and member of the International Olympic Committee 1909. W. H. Grenfell presents Burnham Target Shooting Club with The Grenfell Cup 1904.
The club was based originally in Burnham High Street, using Bisley shooting grounds and The Priory land in Burnham. In 1908 Burnham Rifle moved to the current range in Aldbourne Road.
The Aldbourne Road site was a clay pit used by the Brickmaking Company which had buildings on the corner of Eastfield Road, Burnham. The Methodist Church and houses now occupy that site. The range at Aldbourne Road was gifted to the club in 1908 by the Lloyd brothers who ran the Brickmaking Company up to 1895.
Members at the range used standard .303″ military rifles with the barrels sleeved down to .22″ (Morris Sleeve) to save ammunition costs, make training safer and at the same time enabling clubs to have shorter ranges. In 1903 the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs held its first competition (SMRC) later becoming the National Small-bore Rifle Association (NSRA) in 1947.
Mr. Noel Bingley, Company Commander, 1st Battalion Bucks Volunteer Defence Corps presents The Desborough Company Challenge Cup to Burnham Rifle Club in 1915.
In the early days members travelled regularly to Bisley by horse and trap for full bore practice and competitions. Some of the clubs valuable silver trophies and photos in the clubhouse bear witness to those times.
Right up to about 1958 the club had no clubhouse at the range and the firing point was a primitive wood and asbestos shed with hinged flaps along one side to open up and give the shooters some cover. It may seem hard to imagine today the enthusiasm that drove club members to wait in pouring rain for their turn to get under the meagre cover to lay down on an old piece of matting to shoot!
In 1959 the club borrowed £400 from the NSRA and with a lot of self-help built the modest clubhouse that is still in use today.
The Clubhouse building was completed in 1964. An inscribed Date ‘OCT’ 1964′ laid into the floor commemorates this building completion using old Eley cases.
Up until 1964 Burnham Bowls Club was situated behind the club’s firing point sharing the same pavilion with the Rifle Club.
In the early 1970’s Slough Rifle Club, who’s range was at the Territorial Army Centre, Uxbridge Road, Slough, merges with Burnham Rifle Club to form Burnham & District Rifle Club.
Up until 1997 the club participated in small-bore pistol and full-bore pistol competitions. Government legislation banned these pistols in 1998. Subsequently the club was renamed to Burnham Target Shooting Club (BTSC) to reflect these changes.
Burnham Target Shooting Club celebrated its centenary year with a plaque presented by G. D. Pound, National Smallbore Rifle Association (NSRA).
BTSC was the last club in Buckinghamshire to convert from 50 yards to 50m targets. Major works ensued to rebuild the stop butts in 1997.
Dominic Grieve QC MP, Attorney General, visited the Club in 2010 discussing various shooting legislation questions and enjoying our facilities.