A machine gun and equipment, of the total cost of £500, has been presented to the 3rd Company of the Cheshire Yeomanry, now in the course of formation, by Miss Clarke, of North Cliff, Filey. The Chester Courant, 14th February 1900
£500 in 1900 is equivalent to just under £58,000 in today's money. How would this machine gun have been bought with donated money? From the War Office or from an arms manufacturer?
Mike is quite correct. In those far off days, if one had the money, buying a machine gun for one's unit (or as a donation, as in the case of the delightful Miss Clarke) was a simple matter. I seem to recall that the C.O. of one of the Colonial Horse units sent home for a new pattern of MG! The term "... and equipment" is meaningful - as an MG would have had a mount, spares and tools. Those would have added considerably to the cost of the basic gun. And of course, the gun itself would have to be in calibre .303".
Those were the days!
IL's memory did not fail him! Droogleever, writing in his excellent "Thorneycroft's 'Unbuttoned'", quotes from certain Minutes of Evidence that ".... no machine guns were available but my relations in England sent out two .303" Maxims mounted on tripods with pack saddles and ammunition complete. I afterwards borrowed from the Colt Gun Company three .303" guns (Colt) mounted on Dundonald carriages". Droogleever further quotes from the Thorneycroft papers to effect that Col. Thorneycroft's brother Jim paid 1300 pounds sterling for the two Maxims, 20,000 rounds of ammunition and eighteen good deer-stalking telescopes. The shipment was despatched during the middle of 12/1899.
Sounds like Miss Clarke paid the going rate.
While this will not deal with the cost, I think it is related. My wife took this photo of me about 30 years ago in the York Museum facing Clifford's Tower. To the best of my recall this MG was p esented to the Regt. I simply do not recall if it was a Trophy, post ABW, or a Gift on the Regt leaving for service.