Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Westley Richards (1814-1897)

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1814 Born in Birmingham son of William Westley Richards and his wife Ann

Seems to have moved to London (perhaps representing the Westley Richards family business) whilst his brother, Charles, stayed in Birmingham and worked in the factory.

1845 Westley Richards, esquire, married Emma Fane in London; his father was also recorded as "esquire"[1]

1854 Provided services to the government which resulted in the Enfield Rifle. The government awarded him £1000 for his services.

Presumably became involved in the family business Westley Richards and Sons

1855 Patent to Westley Richards, manufacturer of Birmingham, and Joseph Rock Cooper, manufacturer of Birmingham, on "an improvement or improvements in breech loading fire arms"[2]

1858 Invented the capping breech-loading rifle and the necessary cartridge

1859 Invented the top-lever breech-loading gun

1861 A widower, gentleman, staying in a hotel in Rugby[3]

1862 Patent on "improvements in cannon and other fire-arms, and in apparatus connected therewith."[4]

1865 Death of his father

1866 Patent on "improvements in breech loading fire arms and cartridges."[5]

1867 Patent on "improvements in fire arms and cartridges."[6]

1869 Patent on "improvements in cartridges."[7]

1870 Patent on "improvements in fire arms."[8], and another on "improvements in breech loading fire arms, and in fixing bayonets to breech loading fire arms."[9]

1871 Death of his brother, Charles.

1871 Patent on "improvements in breech loading fire arms, and in cartridges for breech loading fire arms."[10]

1871 A gun manufacturer, living in Birmingham[11]

Discontinued active connection with the business and moved to Oakham but retained interest in the business.

1881 JP, living in Rutland[12]

1897 Died[13]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Parish records
  2. London Gazette 21 July 1859
  3. 1861 census
  4. London Gazette 20 January 1863
  5. London Gazette 30 March 1866
  6. London Gazette 29 January 1867
  7. London Gazette 9 February 1869
  8. London Gazette 15 November 1870
  9. London Gazette 22 November 1870
  10. London Gazette 3 October 1871
  11. 1871 census
  12. 1881 census
  13. The Times 28 May 1897