THROUGH THE REIGNS OF SIX SOVEREIGNS
Welcome backstage — our backstage to the most exciting theatre of spectacular traditional ceremonial of the British Army. Among the events still enacted are The Queen’s Birthday Parade, The Edinburgh Tattoo, Beating Retreat by the Massed Bands and Drums of HM Royal Marines, Trooping the Colour, Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London, Firing of the Royal Salute by The King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery, the Guard of Honour of The Queen’s Colour Squadron of The Royal Air Force - the list goes on and on. Our equipment is worn or carried on all these occasions.
It all started over 150 years ago here in Birmingham, in 1850 to be precise. Frederick Narborough recognised a niche business when he saw one and seized the opportunity to set up a small workshop to specialise in the manufacture of hand crafted sterling silver mounted walking canes for the gentry. The cane was Malacca or hand turned ebony. The sterling silver mounts were made by silversmiths in a variety of bespoke patterns according to the wishes of the client. A range of patterns for immediate sale was also provided for the “gentleman in a hurry”. The business grew and started to expand its product range into riding and hunting whips, many mounted in precious metals as well as hand carved ivory or hardwood heads. Over the years the cane business expanded into ceremonial equipment for the military and police forces of the world.
The company remained in the ownership of the Narborough family and in 1925 a Mr S.C. Dalman, a Narborough nephew joined the company. In 1962 S.C. Dalman succeeded in being appointed Managing Director when the company changed its name to Dalman & Narborough. His son, John P. Dalman joined the company who in turn, became managing director in 1971. His son, Stephen J. Dalman became his successor in 1993.
The company was registered as silversmiths at the Birmingham Assaye Office in 1859. British hallmarked silver is an international seal of quality. Dalman & Narborough is renowned for the production of ceremonial drum major’s staffs for military and civilian use to this day. Sterling silver drum major’s staffs are still being manufactured. Many of whom have been created for HM Royal Marines, the United States Marines Corps (President’s Own) and many other military formations both in the United Kingdom and world-wide.
The company also became specialists in the production of Scottish ceremonial regalia, including bonnet badges, plaid brooches, doublet buttons and badges, waist and cross belts for broadswords, together with dirks and sgian dhubs. Highly decorative sterling silver bagpipes mounts became a speciality and are still in demand from the finest bagpipe makers in Scotland. The company has its own in-house silversmiths, spinners, turners, casters, platers, enamellists and polishers.
From 1990 Dalman & Narborough expanded its operation with a number of acquisitions which complemented its manufactured product area but also introduced a wider range taking the company into a far greater area of activity. During this time, Tom, son of Stephen Dalman rejoined the company following a period of studies in the United States of America. He was responsible for driving the new acquisitions into a cohesive force with the formation of a new holding company, All Arms Marketing & Manufacturing Organisation. In typical military fashion, an acronym was thrust upon us, AMMO – not one of our choice, but we had been accepted, a compliment indeed.
New managers built new teams and the company continues to grow. From the traditional metal crafts of its Birmingham foundation, additional crafts and skills embrace hand embroidery in gold and silver bullion and coloured silks, hand emblazoning of regimental drums in 22 carat gold leaf and finest oils, all varnished to coach finish. Ceremonial uniforms with their relevant regalia accessories complete the wardrobe which, with all the “props”, serves to complete the setting for pure theatre for which British military ceremonial is renowned.
The aim however remains the same: quality, reliability and the ability and drive to give “Service to Service” and maintain the old standards and traditions of its past.