Club History

First official mention of the Leatherhead & District Rifle Club as it was then known appears in an article in the Reigate Borough Advertiser dated April 3 1900.

The article refers to plans to establish a local rifle club in the district, following with the “popular and patriotic movement” in the UK at the time of teaching young men to shoot. A movement initiated by Field Marshall Lord Roberts upon his return from the Boer War, where he had observed the lack of marksmanship amongst British soldiers compared to the Boers who could pick off British officers at ranges in excess of 1000 yards.

This undertaking led to the establishment of a large number of rifle clubs across the UK including Leatherhead where Mr Walter Cunliffe, a future Governor of the Bank of England and resident of Headley Court, took up the mantle as president to establish the Leatherhead & District Rifle Club. The first committee consisted of Messrs Arthur Bird, F. De La Garde Grissell, George Dodge, Ronald Peake, Robert Taylor and John Thorn. Mr A H Tritton was honorary secretary and Mr F Hue Williams the honorary secretary.

The standard of marksmanship demonstrated by the Boers in the Boer war between 1899 and 1902 was so good that many civilian rifle clubs were formed in England at this time in order to promote skill in rifle shooting and the historical records of the National Rifle Association show that “Leatherhead and District Rifle Club” was formed early in 1901 with 85 members.

Although records are difficult to come by in this period it seems that the club was quite active up to the outbreak of the First World War. We have in our possession a photograph of the LRC team with the Lord Pirie trophy which we won, we believe, in 1913. This trophy still exists and is still shot for within the County today and was last won by our club in 2002!

We know nothing of the fate of the club between the wars and if anyone out there reading this has any information please do get in touch!

The modern era of the club stems from the disbandment of the Home Guard back in 1944.

In common with a lot of Home Guard units, F Company (Leatherhead) of the 6th Surrey Home Guard decided to form an Association to keep alive the spirit of comradeship that has existed during the war years, and the first Annual General Meeting was held at the Drill Hall in Leatherhead on Thursday 22nd February 1945.

At this point in time the club was termed the “Leatherhead Home Guard Association and Rifle Club” and had some 80 – 90 members. Apart from rifle shooting, the Association was involved in cricket matches and whist drives, amongst other activities.

However within a couple of years it was rifle shooting that predominated and the club changed its name to the “Leatherhead Home Guard Rifle Club”. Many of the home guard people continued with the club for a long time and our current Vice - President, John Crosse, still keeps in touch with us today.

In August 1957 the “Home Guard” tag was dropped from the title and the club was renamed as simply “Leatherhead Rifle Club” under which title it continues to the present day. 

Surrey History Centre, Woking has film of the stand down parade of the Home Guard in December 1944, filmed in front of Leatherhead Council Offices, showing presentation of shooting trophies to Home Guard members. These trophies are still in the club’s possession are eagerly competed for to this day.

In 2015 Leatherhead Rifle Club merged with Wotton, which was experiencing low membership but had it's own indoor range, hence the situation now where the Leatherhead Club's home range is in a village near Dorking.

Further Club History 


History of old ranges around Wotton