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#387575 12/17/14 09:31 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 2
Boxlock
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Boxlock

Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 2
I am new to the forum, but have used it as a browser for shotgun information in the past. As a novice shotgun enthusiast,
I have always been impressed with the knowledge available here.
I would like to gather any information about a
Westley Richards I currently own. Here is what I know about it:
Westley Richards
SXS
12 Ga.
Box lock
Ejectors
Double triggers
Serial number T24##
Pistol grip
Beaver tail style forearm (seems odd)
Tons off case coloring.
Very little engraving
Does not say Westley Richards on receiver
Like most that I have seen
Rib reads: Westley Richards and Co Birmingham
Federal Quality.
I have reason to believe it was purchased used from
a gentlemen in the 1920's in Winona Mn.

What I don't know about it:
Everything else.

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Sidelock
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Sidelock
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There's a thread somewhere around on the T-series & Federal Quality & it might be the one below:

http://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbt...nt=4&page=3

Kind Regards,

Raimey
rse

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Boxlock
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Boxlock

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Sidelock
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The colours on the frame shot seem kinda odd,spotty... from what I can see from here....but like I said, its hard to see them well
franc

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Sidelock
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Certainly looks as though the gun has been restocked and forended in the not to distant past and the "colour hardening has been "enhanced". The style of the checkering is defiantly not Birmingham and it is far to crisp for a gun of its age .

Last edited by gunman; 12/18/14 02:19 PM.
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Sidelock
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I thought it might be helpful to have the IGC run down on Westley Richards. Its rather long!

Name Westley Richards
Other Names Westley Richards & Co; Westley Richards & Co Ltd
Address1 82 High Street
Address2 40 Grange Road, Bournbrook, Birmingham; 12 Corporation Street
Address3 40 Grange Road, Bournbrook and 24 Bennett's Hill
Address4 40 Grange Road, Bournbrook
City/Town Birmingham
Country United Kingdom
Trade Gun maker
Other Address 170 New Bond Street; 72 Old Bond Street; 25-27 Laurence Pountney Lane; Holford Mills, Perry Bar, Birmingham; Belmont Row, Birmingham; 14 Ironmonger Lane, London; 178 New Bond Street; 19 Gracechurch Street; Leadenhall Buildings, Leadenhall Street, London; 12 Corporation Street, Birmingham; 23 Conduit Street, London; Barnet Gate, London;
Dates 1812-date
Notes

William Westley Richards (known as Westley) was born in 1788. He was the son of Theophilus Richards, a gun maker and silver gun furniture maker, formerly of High Street and John Street, Birmingham, who himself was descended from a large and wealthy family of gunmakers, silversmiths, jewellers, cutlers and merchants. William Westley Richards had two elder brothers, Bingham (b.1780) and Theophilus (b.1786), and a younger sister, Caroline (b.1792). There was another sister, name unknown, who died in 1810. In 1812, when he was 24 years old, William Westley reportedly established his own firm at 82 High Street, Birmingham which may have been owned by his father. He may have been influenced in establishing his own business by Forsyth's successes with percussion ignition for which William Westley obtained a manufacturing licence. His elder brother, Theophilus, may have taken over their father's business which may have been located at 33 High Street. The property at 82 High Street comprised shop and residence with a large piece of ground which William Westley would later use for extending the workshops and building a shooting range which was used up to 1898. In 1813 William Westley and his father were instrumental in the establishment of the Birmingham Proof House. On 8 August 1814 William Westley and his wife, Anne (nee Barlow) had a son who they named Westley. Anne subsequently died and in about 1825 William Westley married Harriet (nee Seale). They had three sons, Charles (d.1871), George (b.1828 d.1863) and William (d.1843). In 1815 William Westley appointed William Bishop as his London agent. Bishop had done gold and silver inlay work for several London gunmakers and, from about 1800, gold and platinum lined touch holes for John and Joseph Manton. From 1823 to 1825 William Bishop was in partnership with John Wicks, they were recorded trading as Wicks & Bishop, jewellers, goldsmiths and sword cutlers, also gun and pistol warehousemen (see William Bishop below). However, Bishop had been trading at 170 New Bond Street in and before 1815. William Westley probably gave him guns to work on and Bishop probably sold some of them and thus became William Westley's London agent. Only from 1826 did the street directories record the firm of Westley Richards as the occupant of 170 New Bond Street.

On 10 November 1821 William Westley patented a percussion primer lock which ignited loose fulminate placed there by a magazine hinged to the lock. As the cock fell the priming magazine was thrown back by a bar leaving the priming exposed to the cock (No. 4611). In about 1830, and probably only for a year or less, it appears the firm occupied premises at 72 Old Bond Street, London. This address could have been an engraving mistake but it has been seen on a cased 15 bore percussion sporting gun (serial No. 2197). It may be that there was a temporary move to these premises while 170 New Bond Street was re-furbished. On 11 February 1831 William Westley patented a T-shaped percussion tube and nipple (No. 6071) about which Hawker said "Of all the inventions (for common-sized guns) that have been brought out since the flourishing days of Joseph, this, in my humble opinion, is the best. I have tried it repeatedly and never yet knew it to fail; and my son shot with it for a whole season, and never once had a miss fire. The next season he accompanied me to the coast, where we had heavy seas and much wet weather; and while my copper caps were missing about two shots out of ten, his primer never failed once". The touchhole was protected by a shield rather than a nipple; the shield being a short wide tube in the side of which was an aperture to allow the escape of the flash and smoke. William Westley has been credited with patent No. 7051 of 1831 (no specific date known) for a percussion primer. In 1834 the firm introduced the first flip-up tangent sight to be used by the British army. On 22 March 1836 William Westley patented a "double-layered" percussion cap (No 7041). The detonating powder was not placed inside the head of the cap but on a false bottom near the mouth of the cap thus the ignition of the primer only caused partial destruction of the cap.

In 1835, Hawker wrote that William Westley was "Joe Manton the second; and deservedly so from what I have lately seen of him and of his work. Mr Richards is really a scientific man, instead of having more tongue than brains like many of our charlatans. His barrels are as good as any in the world, being made of pure Holland stubbs, and twisted in a manner best suited for service and safety. Within these last few years Mr Richards has run some of the best London Gunmakers so hard that they began to wish him and his prime minister Bishop in - "another and better world!" On 8 March 1838 he patented a tubular primer magazine (No. 7582). In 1840, William Westley was appointed Gunmaker to HRH the Prince Consort. He retired in that year aged 52, but his inventions continued. On 14 December 1841 patent No. 9177 covered a mainspring with a boss which had a circular face to fit the curved side of the tumbler (rather than the usual hook or swivel), and a patch type percussion primer. In these primers the detonating powder was placed on pasteboard, tin foil or other material covered by a waterproof material. The primers were placed in a pan of dovetailed or other suitable shape. These primers had Nelson's motto "England expects ... printed inside them so that the printing could not be seen unless the primer was dissected. This made the primers suitable for sale to other countries!

On 20 March 1852 under patent No. 14027, William Westley patented a double action percussion revolver, rifle muzzles lined with steel inserts, and conical bullets with a hollow base containing horn, gutta percha or wood plugs or cores, or a metal ring. Also included in the patent was wadding made of gutta percha and cork, gutta-percha caps and tubes.

On 3 May 1854 he patented a revolver ramrod which slid between guides attached to the barrel(No. 993).

On 24 April 1855 he patented a revolver lock located in the stock (No. 911).

William Westley's son, Westley Richards, took over the firm in 1840 at the age of 26. It may have been at about this time that Charles Richards, half-brother to Westley Richards joined the firm. He was employed on the "commercial side" (accounts dept) of the firm.

In 1845 Westley married Emma (daughter of Vere Fane and niece of the Earl of Westmoreland). They had a daughter but Emma fell from her horse in 1847 and died aged only 24. Westley never married again.

In 1849 Westley Richards registered a design for a percussion cap (No. 1806). In that year Hawker wrote about the firm's factory saying "... surpasses all the gun establishments I ever saw or heard of. He had his whole army of workmen, as it were, in a barrack with spacious grounds to try his guns from the very windows of the workmen. To have seen so many departments of gunmaking in London I must have gone over 20 miles of ground". IIn 1851 the firm exhibited at the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace where they won a special award. In 1852 Westley registered a design for a rifle sight (No. 3109). In that year the firm was given a contract to improve the Minie rifle, the 1853 Enfield was the result for which the firm was paid £1000. In 1853 the firm opened a shop the City of London at 25-27 Laurence Pountney Lane. The opening of the shop was an attempt to win the custom of wealthy city businessmen and it was run as a separate entity from the 170 New Bond Street agency which William Bishop managed. It was not sufficiently successful and closed in 1857. On 3 December 1855 Westley Richards and Joseph Rock Cooper patented a percussion breech-loader with barrels that reciprocated and turned to the side (No. 2718). On 25 March 1858 Westley Richards patented his first hinged breech block "Monkey-tail" percussion breech-loader (No. 633), cartridge extractors for the Monkey-tail breech-loader, and a stock attachment method. This patent was followed on 24 September 1858 by patent No. 2149 (which referred to patent No. 633). Although this was for a sliding bolt single bite snap action (see also 2623 of 1864 for further improvements) it was also an early attempt to improve the Lefaucheaux breech-loader by moving the bite away from the hinge pin. In fact, the bite was an extension of the top rib into a slot in the action face (a doll's head) with a bolt to hold it in place operated by a long top lever. This gun was also the first "Bar-in-Wood" action which the firm used for all their early hammer guns.

The Monkey-tail breech-loader, so named because of the shape of the breech lever, was made in .450 calibre and had a Whitworth rifled barrel. It was trialled by the Army from 1861 and was the first breech-loader to be adopted in 1866 (by the cavalry); the Portugese army adopted it from 1867. It proved to be a very popular rifle in South Africa where it was widely sold and used by the Boers up to the second Boer War (1889-1902) by which date the Mauser had became popular. A number of Monkey-tail sporting guns were made. In 1859 the firm was re-named Westley Richards & Co. In 1860 John Deeley joined the firm as an accountant. He was born in 1825, the son of a steel toy polisher. He was poorly educated as a child, reportedly this was partly his own fault, but he later developed a liking for learning and, to a very great extent, educated himself. In 1860 Westley Richards patented improvements to cartridges and caps pertinent to ordnance (patent no. 1670). On 21 August 1861 he patented a forward sliding barrel breech-loader, and target rifle sights (patent No. 2093). The first record in the censuses relating to the Richards family occurred in the 1861 census when Westley was recorded staying at the George Hotel in Rugby. He described himself as a widower and gentleman no reference being made to guns and gun making. The hotel was near to the market place and it is interesting to speculate that he might have been buying horses. On 11 September 1862 he patented a sliding bolt single bite snap action (No. 2506) which, instead of the 1859 long top lever had a short pull back thumb piece between the hammers the front end of which was the bolt. The patent also described the shape of the bar-in-wood stock and fore-end so that the wood always covered the joint (Crab Joint). This short top lever was the pre-cursor of the famous Westley Richards top lever (improved by patent No. 2623 of 1864). This lever is still being used by the firm. Of the top lever J H Walsh, editor of the "Field" said: "The first great improvement in the hinged Lefaucheux action was made by Westley Richards. ... The Westley Richards action is opened by a top lever, which is so convenient that by public accord it has been adopted by the most fashionable gun-makers of the day".

On 30 December 1862 Westley Richards registered patent No. 3478 for screw adjustable rifle sights and a method of converting breech loaders to muzzle loaders. Westley Richards was firmly of the opinion that barrels should be locked top and bottom, anything else being "un-mechanical". In this he agreed with Greener rather more than with the top London makers. On 27 April 1863 Westley Richards registered patent No. 1051 for barrels made from reinforced steel tubes. On 22 October 1864 patent No. 2623 covered modifications to the top-lever patent No. 633 of 1858, it also covered a design that allowed the Monkey-tail (No. 2506 of 1862) to use rim-fire cartridges. The patent described a top lever pivoted behind the doll's head on the right side engages a shoulder on the top strap. Moving the lever to the right or pulling it back drew back the bolt. The patent included a variation where the top lever pivoted only on the right side. Patent No. 3478 covered a rifle sight, a chamber plug for converting the Monkey-tail to a muzzle-loader, and a machine rest. The date of this patent has not been traced. In 1865 Westley’s father, William Westley Richards died. In this year, either the firm or Westley Richards in his personal capacity joined Moore & Harris in a partnership established to save the manufacturing business of Moore & Harris from closure. The venture resulted in the business being sold to W & C Scott & Son within the year. On 6 March 1866 patent No. 688 allowed the Monkey-tail breechloader to use metallic or paper cartridges with internal primers. Patent No. 1960 of 28 July in that year covered modifications to patent No. 633 of 1858, also No. 3243 of 1866 (below) referring to modifications to centre fire and pin fire mechanisms. This was related to the introduction of the solid drawn brass cartridge. Patent No. 3243 of 8 December 1866 covered shaped chambers for flangeless cartridges in the Monkey-tail breech-loader. These appear to have been the patents which led to the development of the No. 1 Carbine cartridge and the No. 2 Musket cartridge. On 12 December 1867 patent No. 3539 was for a hinged and sliding opening cocking breech action, it referred to No. 688 of 1866. On 12 June 1868 patent No. 1931 covered a front hinged block Martini-like breech-loader, and a rear hinged block (Free State Martini), and stocks. It referred to No. 1960 of 1866. This patent was improved by patent No. 2427 of 13 August 1869 which itself was subject to a number of improvements. At some time in 1868 Westley Richards registered a patent (No. 3068) far a cartridge (nothing more known). On 1 December 1869 patent No. 3481 was for a safety that blocked the triggers. Patent No. 3641 of 16 December 1869 was for a rear hinged falling block operated by a lever in front of the trigger guard, it referred to No. 2427 of 1869. A few days later on 29 December patent No. 3763 was for the same. On 18 January 1870 patent No. 144 was for improvements to patent No. 2427 of 1869.

On 9 August 1870 patent No. 2205 was for a handguard which could be fitted to overheated barrels. On 25 October 1870 patent No. 2809 covered improvements to the hinged breech block covered by No. 144 of 1870, and improved strikers and bayonet fixings. In 1870 Westley Richards undertook to supply the Prussian Government with 150,000 Mauser rifles and 100 million cartridges. The Westley Richards Arms & Ammunition Company was set-up for this purpose. This company bought and rebuilt Holford Mills, Perry Bar (formerly Oldford Mills, Handsworth, owned by J & J Turner). It gave 82 High Street and Belmont Row as it's addresses. The precise history is not clear but it seems that Westley Richards went into partnership with Thomas Greenwood and John Batley, and the partnership bought the firm of E & A Ludlow at Belmont Row. In January 1872 the National Arms and Ammunition Company Limited took over the business. Lord Lichfield was chairman and John Deeley was a director. The company ceased operations in the late 1880s and was liquidated in 1896. On 14 June 1871 patent No. 1572 was for improvements to 2506 of 1862, 2427 of 1869, and 2809 of 1870, a breech loading action (the third and final development of the top bite) and a hinged block breech-loader. In 1871 Westley was recorded in the census living alone at the back of 82 High Street. He described himself as gun manufacturer born in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. In 1871 Charles Richards died, aged 47, and with Westley as the senior partner John Deeley became "sole commercial manager and director of affairs".

William Bishop also died in 1871; for the next two years a sign in the window of the shop at 170 New Bond Street stated "Westley Richards (Minus Agent)". On 28 October 1872 patent No. 3195 was taken out, it referred to 1572 of 1871 and covered improvements to Chassepot and similar rifles (sliding breech block for use with metallic cartridges and improvements to vertical sliding breech). Martini apparently copied this design too closely when he developed his famous Martini action, he infringed the patent and the British government had to pay the National Arms & Ammunition Company Ltd, the licensees of the patents, £45,000 in royalties. On 14 December 1872 William Anson, foreman of the machine shop, patented his famous push rod fore-end catch under patent No 3791. Westley Richards retired from active management of the firm in 1872, aged 58, but he retained joint "chairmanship" with C Couchman, his friend and a "director" of the firm. John Deeley (1825-1913), who had joined the firm in 1860 as an accountant, became the senior "director". The reason Westley Richards retired from the firm was ill health but he continued to pursue his interest in breeding horses. This was probably when he moved to Ashwell Hall, Ashwell, Oakham, Rutland, where at times he had up to 30 hunters in his stables. At some time, the firm received Royal Warrants from HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duke of Connaught. In 1873 Westley Richards & Co acquired limited liability and became Westley Richards & Co Ltd.

On 19 April 1873 the Deeley-Edge rifle was patented (No. 1422), this had fewer moving parts than the old falling block and Martini actions, and was more compact. The same patent covered the John Deeley and J S Edge lever catch fore-end catch. James Simeon Edge was the son of John William Edge of Manchester who worked with Joseph Whitworth in rifle development; J S Edge, worked for his father at one time, but then moved to Birmingham where he worked for Westley Richards eventually becoming foreman of the sporting and military rifle department. On 11 May 1875 William Anson, foreman of the Westley Richards machine shop (see E Anson & Co), and John Deeley patented the famous Anson & Deeley box lock action. The patent (No. 1756) was first used with a snap-action under-lever but this was soon replaced by the Scott spindle and Purdey sliding bolt. The design reduced the number of moving parts from eighteen in the normal sidelock, to three. Deeley conceived the idea, Anson worked out the details of the design. John Deeley advised by W E Metford and Sir Henry Halford, developed and supervised the work on W E Metford's shallow and semi-circular cut rifling when it was adopted by the firm in 1875, 14 years before it was adopted by the government for the Lee-Metford rifle in 1889. John was an expert rifle shot, a member of the English Eight rifle team, and won competitions at Wimbledon and elsewhere. The firm's "Deeley-Edge Metford" match target rifles were the most successful target rifles from 1880 to 1887. John Deeley's sons, John and George worked for the company; John in the rifle and military gun department, and George in the accounts department. When they joined the firm is not known.

In 1875 the firm won a Gold Medal in the Chile exhibition, and in 1876 they won another in Philadelphia. In 1876 William Anson patented a rocking top or grip safety which bolted the triggers (No. 4513) (both these patents were licensed to Joseph Brazier & Sons by Robert Edward Couchman - a director of the company and son (?) of C Couchman. Another attempt was made in 1876 to gain business in the City of London and a shop opened at 14 Ironmonger Lane. In 1877 it moved to 19 Gracechurch Street. In 1877 the firm won a Gold Medal at the South African Exhibition.
In 1878 the New Bond Street premises in London were re-numbered, 170 changed to 178. On 13 March 1878 patent No. 1004 by John Deeley and J S Edge covered a variation to patent No. 1422 of 1873 (their vertical sliding block action and fore-end patent). On 19 March 1878 patent No. 1085 by the firm covered a top extension locking mechanism with a circular bolt for a breech-loader.

On 7 March 1879 patent No. 907 by William Anson and John Deeley covered a safety which blocked the striker holes and an intercepting sear, it referred to No. 4513 of 1876. In 1880 Leslie Bown Taylor (b.1863) joined the firm and A H Gale was appointed manager of the shop in Gracechurch Street in London. L B Taylor's speciality is not known. On 2 March 1880 patent No. 930 by W W Greener had covered the Greener "Facile Princeps" (easily the first) barrel cocking hammerless box lock action. Greener was one of the many gun makers who had been licensed to use the Westley Richards / Anson and Deeley boxlock patent for which they paid 15 shillings per gun, but they had another idea which entailed a sliding rod or hook on the barrel lump which cocked the locks. Westley Richards sued for infringement of their patent and the case went to appeal at the House of Lords. Westley Richards they lost the case on the grounds that the Greener patent was different in that although it was desirable to fit the fore-end, their gun could be cocked without the fore-end attached. The 1881 census records Westley living at Ashwell Hall, he described himself as a J P (magistrate / Justice of the Peace). He was living with various servants most employed in his stables. On 21 March 1881 patent No. 1241 by John Deeley and J S Edge was for another vertical sliding breech-block action, and No. 3143 on 19 July by J S Edge and John Deeley was for a vertical sliding breech block action with a side lever and magazine. It was in this year that the firm was appointed gunmaker to the Duke of Edinburgh.

On 26 August 1882 William Anson registered patent No. 4089 for an intercepting safety sear. In 1883 the firm closed the Gracechurch Street shop and moved to Leadenhall Buildings where they stayed until 1889. On 11 April 1883 William Anson and John Deeley took out patent No. 1833 for a modification to their box lock action patent No. 1756 of 1875. It was not seen as a significant improvement on the original design. On 3 March 1884 patent No. 4292 by William Anson was for a modification to the cocking mechanism referred to in patent No. 1833 of 1883. Again, it was not seen as a significant improvement on the original design. On 3 November 1884 patent No. 14526 by John Deeley was for an ejector for a breech loading action with John Deeley's (John Deeley Jnr) fore-end ejector mechanism. This patent was widely copied and the firm was forced to defend it in Court. On 20 November 1884 William Anson patented an ejector operated by a spring on the extractor (No. 15299). In 1884 the firm won a Gold Medal at the Calcutta Exhibition. It was at about this time that the range of guns produced by the company started to expand. Up to the 1880s, the company produced shotguns in all calibres and a range of half a dozen double rifles but they were, in the main, produced only in "Plain" and "Best" finishes.

On 23 April 1885 patent No. 5049 by John Deeley and F J Penn was different types of opening cocking and closing mainspring compression mechanisms for the Anson & Deeley boxlock action. In 1886 C Couchman died and Westley Richards appointed Henry Richards, Westley's cousin and a partner in Theophilus Richards & Co of 33 High Street, Birmingham, and Thomas Richards of 53 High Street, Birmingham, a director. Theophilus Richards & Co were merchants and, up to 1833, gun dealers (see Theophilus Richards of 26 High Street, Birmingham). On 26 March 1886 a further patent (No. 4289) was registered by John Deeley for his ejector mechanism. On 9 December 1886 W Anson registered patent No. 16138 for an ejector on the extractor mechanism covered by his patent No. 15299 of 1884. On 9 May 1888, F J Penn and John Deeley registered patent No. 6913 for improvements to their ejector mechanism covered by patent Nos. 14526 of 1884 and 4289 of 1886. On 16 May 1888 William Anson registered patent No. 7274 for a breech loading action with an elongated bar and lumps and its associated cocking mechanism. It was in 1888 that John Deeley Jnr left the firm due to ill health, he died in 1893. In 1889 at the Paris exhibition, the firm was the only English firm to win a Grand Prix award, they also won a Gold Medal at the South African exhibition. On 25 November 1890 F J Penn and John Deeley registered patent No. 19145 for a screw-in bolt head on a bolt action service rifle, in 1892 this was licensed to BSA for the production of the Mark II Lee-Metford rifle. This improved bolt replaced the former bolt adopted by the government which had proved unreliable. Westley was recorded in the 1891 census aged 77 years and living at Old Hall, Ashwell with a butler and four other servants. On 2 July 1892 patent No. 12324 by F J Penn and John Deeley covered trigger safety sears which would prevent double discharges. On 18 May 1894 L B Taylor registered patent No. 9711, this was either for a bayonet attachment or barrel joint (reports differ). On 24 May 1894 he registered patent No. 10068 for a falling block action to which a hair trigger could be fitted.

In May 1895 patent No. 9410 covered metallic cartridge cases. On 25 September 1895 L B Taylor registered patent No. 17882 for a split extractor and modifications to 9711 of 1894 for detachable barrels to enable use with different calibres. On 11 November 1895 F J Penn and John Deeley patented a selective single trigger mechanism (No. 21346). In 1889 after the shop at Leadenhall Buildings closed A H Gale moved to manage the London shop at 178 New Bond Street. In 1895 (some say earlier) he formed the Middlesex Clay Bird Shooting Club, located opposite the Old Welsh Harp Hotel at Hendon. This was an 18 acre shooting ground where, in 1912, the company sold a course of six lessons at 2 guineas, and one hour of instruction cost 7/6d (37.5p); 100 clays and 100 cartridges cost 8/4d (48p) each. By about 1894, the factory and offices at 82 High Street in Birmingham were proving too small for the volume of business being conducted there. The company bought land at 40 Grange Road, Bournbrook, Birmingham, and built a new factory and offices. Exactly when the company moved into these premises is not known, dates vary from 1895 to 1899. A larger shop was opened at 12 Corporation Street in 1899. It is said that guns of this period which carry a prefixed serial number were plainer guns not considered to be best quality. Perhaps the company sought to increase retail and wholesale sales by offering larger quantities of plainer and inexpensive guns. On 27 May 1897 Westley Richards died, he was 83 years old. On 13 July 1897 George Dawson Deeley, the second son of John Deeley senior, was appointed a director of the company. He had been an accountant with his own practice in Birmingham. On 11 May 1897 D V Johnstone and L B Taylor registered patent No. 11646 for a removable Martini action, and on 21 May they registered patent No. 12573 for a loaded indicator on Martini actions. On 19 June 1897 L B Taylor patented an adjuster for cross wires on a telescopic sight (No. 14876). On 28 July 1897 patent No. 17731 by John Deeley and L B Taylor referred to patent Nos. 1756 of 1875 and 1833 of 1883 and covered the famous Westley Richards drop locks or detachable locks. These were developed by Howard A Davies, foreman of the action department, who was asked by Leslie Taylor to invent an action which did not need any unsightly pins showing on the outside of the action. Having achieved this, it was clear that to mount the lockwork on internal plates and make the action detachable was a small further step. The original boxlock was one of the most influential inventions of the breech-loading era; it was reliable and could be serviced by any reasonably competent gunsmith, and it was promoted as the best action for people going overseas. Unfortunately, this improvement to it has never received the accolade it deserved. H A Davies later worked for the company in London and went on to join B E Chaplin in London and establish his own business in Winchester.

On 14 October 1897 patent No. 23637 by E H Parsons and L B Taylor covered an aperture sight for Lee service rifles which did not interfere with the operation of the bolt. In November 1897 L B Taylor registered a patent No. 27580 for small arms (no details). On 5 February 1898 patent No. 3010 by John Deeley and F J Penn covered improvements to 21346 of 1895, safety bolt to prevent double discharge. On 8 March 1898 patent No. 5627 by L B Taylor and E H Parsons covered a safety mechanism for bolt action rifles of Lee Metford type. Between May and December 1898 L B Taylor registered patent No. 14659 for bullets (no details). On 3 December 1898 L B Taylor registered patent No. 25515 for spring loaded peep-sights and leaf back-sights for bolt action rifles. In 1899 John Deeley, aged 74, gave up the day to day management of the company and became chairman; Leslie Taylor, who had become company manager in 1895, became managing director. In about 1883 Leslie Taylor had developed the .500 long range rifle which appears to have been one of the first to use the new smokeless powders. In the 1890s, he developed the .318 bore (accelerated express), the .360 High Velocity Cordite Express, the .425 and .476 (these became popular when the .303 and .450 calibres were banned in India and the Sudan, see below). On 8 December 1899 L B Taylor and E H Parsons registered patent No. 24425 for improvements to No. 5627 of 1898, safety for bolt action rifles. In early 1900 L B Taylor registered patent No. 1857 for rifle sights. On 12 February 1900 E H Parsons and L B Taylor patented windage adjustable leaf back-sight (No. 2735), and on 8 November L B Taylor registered patent No. 20103 for an additional peep-sight attachment to a leaf back-sight and a ring clip foresight.

In 1900 the company was awarded a Gold Medal at the Paris Exhibition. In 1901 the company were appointed gun and rifle makers to His Majesty King Edward VII. In January or February 1901 L B Taylor registered patent No. 3897 for bullets (no details). On 29 May in that year L B Taylor registered patent No. 11062 for improvements to selective single trigger patents 16897 of 1898 (not found) and 3952 of 1899 (not found - Lard single trigger). There was also the "Westley Richards Patent One-Trigger" which dated to about 1903 and may have been the same. On 1 July 1901 patent No. 13345 by E H Parsons and L B Taylor was for a screw elevation adjuster for a rifle rear-sight which had an alternative button adjuster. In 1903 the company received a Royal Warrant from His Imperial Majesty the Shah of Persia and the Royal Family. In about 1903 Douglas J P Haines became manager of the company's retail branch at 12 Corporation Street, Birmingham. He was previously employed in the Bournbrook factory and trained under John Deeley. He was made a director of the company in about 1907. On 16 January 1903 L B Taylor registered patent No. 1130 for detachable sidelocks and a trigger guard. On 17 June he registered patent No. 13548 for detachable adjustable telescopic sight mounts. In 1904 Leslie Taylor initiated work on shot and ball guns in response to the development of Holland & Holland's "Paradox" gun and bullets (see "Explora and Fauneta Guns" under "Other Info" below). In October 1904 he registered patent No. 23202 for bullets (no details).

On 24 January 1905 E H Parsons and L B Taylor registered patent No. 1389 for windage adjustable leaf sights, this referred to No. 2735 of 1900 and 13345 of 1901. On 6 February 1906 C Gardner and L B Taylor registered patent No. 2863 for a cocking lever for an airgun pellet chamber. On 2 March 1906 L B Taylor patented an extractor for use with rimless cartridges (patent No. 5098). On 7 March they registered patent No. 5495 for an air rifle for training servicemen, similar in size and weight to the standard service rifle. On 22 October 1906 L B Taylor and E H Parsons patented barrel locking bolt head lugs (patent No. 23932). On 6 February 1906 L B Taylor and C Gardner registered patent No. 2506 for a lever cocking air weapon which automatically opened the rotary loading port. On 2 March 1906 L B Taylor registered patent No. 5098 for a rimless cartridge case extractor. In 1906, the government banned the sale in India and Sudan of, for non-military use, guns and ammunition, cartridge cases and bullets of .450 and .303 calibres (the military calibres). There were substantial numbers of these rifles, and in the wrong hands these were an obvious risk. Westley Richards .476 became popular and this competed with the Jeffery .475 cartridge, and Holland's .500/.465. In the smaller calibres, the .360 HV Express became popular. In February or March 1907 L B Taylor registered patent No. 4275 for bullets (no details) and in March or April 1907 he registered patent No. 8390 for bolt guns (no details). On 7 May 1907 John Deeley and L B Taylor registered patent No. 10567 for improvements to patent No. 17731 of 1897, a lighter trigger for the company's drop lock action. On 20 September in that year L B Taylor and E H Parsons patented a bolt, ejector and safety for a bolt action (No. 20889). On 9 November 1907 E Anson, who was in business on his own account at 145 Steelhouse Lane, registered patent No. 24837 for a drop-down air pistol mechanism, this was made by Westley Richards and sold under the name "Highest Possible". In July or August 1908 L B Taylor registered patent No. 17980 which covered bullets (no details). On 30 October 1908 L B Taylor patented a hinged action floor plate which referred to 17731/1898 and 10567/1907 (the drop lock action). Also in 1908 L B Taylor patented cartridge improvements (patent No. 27166) and, on 28 December 1908 E H Parsons and L B Taylor patented improvements to back-sights (patent No. 28195 which referred to 13345 of 1901 and 1389 of 1905).

On 2 January 1909 L B Taylor patented a large magazine for Mauser/Baer type rifles. In October 1909 L B Taylor registered a patent for small arms (no details). On 17 November 1909 L B Taylor patented a two-pull single trigger (No. 26659). In 1910 the company won a Gold Medal at the Allahabad Exhibition. In November 1910 the Birmingham shop moved to 24 Bennett's Hill. On 5 August 1911 A L Chevallier and L B Taylor patented an anti-cant device for rifle back-sights (No. 17843), and on 31 August L B Taylor and Charles Gardner (export manager for Westley Richards) patented an underlever opening and cocking action with coil springs (No. 19403). In 1911 the company were appointed gunmakers to His Majesty King George V. Also in 1911, the firm made a three barrelled gun according to Edwinson Green's patent No. 15307. Westley Richards thought so highly of the design that they exhibited the gun at the 1911 Turin Exhibition and won a gold medal with it (for other 3 barrelled rifles see Child, Dickson and Boss). At this exhibition the company also won two Grand Prix Awards, and Leslie Taylor was awarded a Diploma of Honour. It was in 1911 that Henry Richards, aged 87 and the last member of the Richards family to be involved in the firm, retired as a director of the company.

In 1913, John Deeley died and both the chairmanship and a majority of the shares of the company were inherited by George Dawson Deeley. John Deeley had left the company in a very healthy and profitable condition, the catalogue had changed from a single sheet of paper in the 1870s, to a six page leaflet in the 1890s, to an illustrated centenary catalogue in 1912 containing 214 pages with 30 to 40 different models of shotgun and about 80 rifles listed. In 1913 G D Deeley, Leslie Taylor and Charles Gardner bought the name and goodwill and assets of the firm of F T Baker which was bankrupt. F T Baker Ltd moved to 64 Haymarket, London, a Mr McLoughlin was manager. It ceased trading in 1916, but the company exists today. On 13 May 1913 L B Taylor and E H Parsons registered patent No. 11148 for a rifle back-sight with an adjustable vertical side bar. On 20 May 1913 patent No. 11681 by L B Taylor and F Hughes covered hinged or detachable inspection ports. In 1913 the Westley Richards "Ovundo" system was reportedly registered under design No. 354045. The Ovundo was Westley Richards boxlock (droplock) answer to the Edwinson Green, Boss, Purdey and Woodward sidelock over/under shotguns. It was made in three qualities; The "Highest Quality" with detachable locks, side plates and single or double trigger sold for £150, the "All Round" model sold for £ 105, and the "Special Model" with no sideplates sold for £65. On 123 March 1914 Westley Richards & Co and L B Taylor patented improved cartridge retaining lips on rifle magazines. On 8 April 1914 patent No. 8853 covered a concealed extension and hook bolting mechanism for the Ovundo, and on 16 April in that year patent No. 9410 covered pivoted firing pins or supplementary tumblers for the Ovundo; this patent referred to patent No. 17731 of 1897.

On 13 March 1914 the company and L B Taylor registered patent No. 6362 for a modification to the retaining lips in rifle magazines. On 8 April L B Taylor and the company registered patent No. 8853 for a concealed extension and hook mechanism for Over/Under guns; on 16 April they registered patent No. 9410 for pivoted firing pins or additional tumblers for detachable locks on Over/Under guns, this patent referred to patent No. 17731 of 1897. During the First World War the situation changed considerably, as might be expected. The company virtually closed the sporting gun business, and they repaired, converted and re-barrelled service rifles (code marked M268), and produced sights. The company increased its staff by 400%. In 1917 A H Gale left the company, no doubt he retired. The shop at 178 New Bond Street moved to 23 Conduit Street. Either then or at some later date, the manager was a Mr A J Redfern (an E Redfern represented the company at the funeral of Samuel Robertson of Boss & Co in 1934). On 14 March 1918 L B Taylor and E H Parsons registered patent No. 122078 for a leaf back-sight with parallel notches in the edge. On 27 March 1919 L B Taylor registered patent No. 135410 for a detachable cover plate (referred to patent No. 23088 of 1908). On 4 July 1919 Westley Richards & Co, L B Taylor and C Gardner registered patent No. 150864 for a rebounding mechanism, fixing hammer and bridle for a coil spring operated hammer lock. On 19 November 1919 L B Taylor and E H Parsons patented a rotatable variable foresight (patent No. 155439). On 16 January 1920 L B Taylor, A L Chevallier and J H Worthington patented a barrel rifling for use with special projectiles (patent No. 161319). The nature of the projectiles is not known. On 12 August 1920 L B Taylor and D J P Haines registered patent No. 170703 which covered hinged inspection ports in sideplates.

Between 1922 and 1930 the company were appointed gun makers to the Maharajah of Udaipur (1922), the Maharajah of Patiala (1923), the Maharajah of Rewa (1929), and the Sultan of Johore (1930). In about 1930 the shooting school in London moved to Barnet Gate. The years between the wars, including the Great Depression, were not easy but the company managed to stay profitable although at much reduced levels. Leslie Taylor died on 22 September 1930, his successor was Charles Gardner (died in 1947). Between 1933 and 1937 the company were appointed gunmakers to the Maharajah of Alwar (1933), the Nawab of Rampur (1934), His Majesty the Emperor of Annam (1936), and His Royal Highness Prince Baru of Bangkok (1937). The Second World War was a repeat of the first, with the company assisting the war effort by making smoke dischargers and assembling SMLE rifles (marked M268) and repairing them, but when it was over the the company was virtually bankrupt and staff levels had to be much reduced. In 1946 the company went into voluntary liquidation and the rights to the assets and name were sold for £15,000 by the liquidator to Captain E D Barclay who established a new company of the same name. E D Barclay subsidised the gunmaking business with profits made from tool making and the sale of whaling harpoon guns. In 1948 Malcolm Lyell joined the company, he rose to become manager of the London shop in Conduit Street, and became a director of the company in 1951. In 1950 the company were appointed gunmakers to the Ruler of Swat, and in 1953 to HRH Prince Ali Reza Pahlei of Persia, Maharajah Holkar of Indore, and HM Bao Dai Emperor of Vietnam. In 1956 Malcolm Lyell and the company signed a 30 year agency agreement which resulted in Malcolm Lyell leaving the company to form his own company, Westley Richards (Agency) Co Ltd, and take over the 23 Conduit Street shop. This was an agency agreement that Westley Richards & Co Ltd was to regret. The diversifications of the early 1950s were not sufficient to keep the company going, and in 1957 a majority of the shares in Westley Richards & Co Ltd were bought by Walter Clode, a captain in the 10th Royal Hussars born in India in 1929. A Mr Rogers, husband of Captain Barclay's niece, was managing director of the company at the time.

Walter Clode searched the old records of the company and went to India to buy back the classic guns sold there over the previous hundred years or so, to renovate and resell them. He and Mr Rogers also expanded the precision engineering side of the business into tool making. In 1959, Malcolm Lyell became a director of Holland & Holland, a major competitor of Westley Richards & Co Ltd. Walter Clode found himself in an awkward position in which he could neither terminate the agreement with Malcolm Lyell nor establish a London shop under the Westley Richards name. In 1986 the company signed two agency agreements, one in Edinburgh with John Dickson, and the other in London with Swaine, Adeney & Brigg, umbrella and leathergoods makers of 186 Piccadilly. Swaine, Adeney & Brigg opened a gunshop at their premises and installed Nick Louca, formerly shop manager for Cogswell & Harrison at 168 Piccadilly, as manager. Swaine, Adeney & Brigg closed the shop in 1989, Nick Louca took over the agency but terminated it in 1990. In 1960 the shop at 24 Bennett's Hill, Birmingham closed and a showroom was opened at the factory at 40 Grange Road, Bournbrook. In 1972 Mr Rogers retired and Walter Clode became managing director. In 1987 Simon Clode, Walter's son joined the firm. He became managing director in May 1992. In 1989 Malcolm Lyell, at the time a director of Holland & Holland, became a non-executive director of Westley Richards. He died in 2011.

In 1997 the company established their own agency company in the USA, prior to this various gun dealers in the States had operated as agents for the company.

Further information is available from the company Tel: + 44 (0) 1213331900 and on their website www.westleyrichards.co.uk. A check on the history of a gun and the issue of a "Certificate of Authenticity" costs £57.50.

Other Info
The firm sold cartridges under the names "A L P Cartridge", "Aquatite", "Brown" (c. early 1880s case by National Arms & Ammunition Co), "Carlton", "Gastight", "Pegamoid" (post 1927), "Right & Left" (post 1910), "Special" (post 1910, 1922 and 1927), "Wizard", "Regent Metal Covered Cartridge", "Explora Hollow Slug Cartridge" and "Fauneta Ball Cartridge".
Explora and Fauneta Guns: From the 1860s if not before (see Lancaster's Colindium rifle / shotgun), there had been a world-wide demand for an all-purpose combination rifle / shotgun. This demand was partially satisfied by "Cape" rifles and other combination guns, and the ordinary shotgun used together with ball ammunition satisfied many, but Holland & Holland's "Paradox" gun became popular with those who could afford it. In 1904 Westley Richards developed their "Explora" (8, 10, 12 and 16 bore) and "Fauneta" (20 and 28 bore) shallow rifled shot and ball guns (also available from 1909 as magnum and super magnum models). These guns could fire either normal shot cartridges or a bullet cartridge. The hollow point type of bullet had an insert of lead, copper, brass or aluminium, all of which gave differing rates of expansion. Leslie Taylor later developed his L T bullet, this was a pointed capped hollow-nosed bullet half as long again as a paradox of the same bore, but the same weight. The 20 bore Fauneta could place 10 shots in a 4 inch group at 100 yards, shooting left and right barrels alternately. It fired a 435 grain bullet that had a higher velocity than a .303 bullet.

William Bishop, widely known at the time as "The Bishop of Bond Street", was a popular extrovert and eccentric who always wore a black silk top hat, swallow tailed coat and white apron.

A keen sportsman, he organised dog and cock fights, and prize fights for the entertainment of his customers but, he was very fond of dogs.

His own favourite terrier, Tiny, was stolen but, unlike most dogs which were sold or ransomed, she was eventually found. The theft prompted the Bishop to campaign for dog theft to become a criminal offence, and he was largely responsible for an Act of Parliament in 1845 which achieved this. It was commonly known as "The Bishop's Act", and gaining Parliamentary approval apparently cost him about £1000 - a lot of money in those days! Bishop (b.1798 in Ealing) was recorded in the 1851 census living at 170 New Bond Street with Elizabeth and John Whefsell (Whessell), his neice and nephew who acted as housekeeper and shopman respectively. He described himself as a silversmith. The 1861 census records him as a gun and silversmith at the same address living with a different housekeeper, a servant and a porter.

Wicks became Bishop's partner in 1823 but in 1825 left the partnership. From this date the shop was recorded in the name of W W Richards.

William Westley Richards was a JP, a trustee of George Fentham's Charity (for about 20 years the Chairman) which supported pupils at the Birmingham Blue Coat School, a Street Commissioner, a member of the Musical Festival Committee, Warden of the Birmingham Assay Office, Churchwarden of St Philip's Church, Chairman of the Bingly Hall Exhibition in 1849 and a juror at the 1851 National Exhibition in Hyde Park, London.

Westley Richards was a JP and High Sheriff Rutland. He was a member of the Carlton Club where he stayed when in London.

Henry Richards was a JP, he was a Warden of the Birmingham Assay Office and a governer of King Edward VI Grammar School.

John Deeley Snr was treasurer of George Dawson's Church for over 17 years (this may explain why George Dawson Deeley was christened Dawson); as a Freemason he was Master of St James's Lodge, and a Past Officer of Provincial Grand Lodge, and Chapter of Staffordshire; he was a member of the Birmingham Liberal Club and of the Midland Club, and he was a member of the Midland Debating Society and the Old Birmingham Book Club. He was a Guardian of the Birmingham Proof House and chairman of its Finance Committee.

Leslie B Taylor was on the Board of Guardians of the Birmingham Proof House, and the Executive of the London and Birmingham Gunmakers Association. He was a Guardian of the Birmingham Proof House, and a member of the Technical Committee of that Board. During his time, the Guardians introduced an apprentice scheme with theoretical instruction and examination, the successful student being issued with a Certificate of Merit and having his name entered in a Register of Apprentices.

Tim

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Originally Posted By: trw999
I thought it might be helpful to have the IGC run down on Westley Richards. Its rather long!

Name Westley Richards
Other Names Westley Richards & Co; Westley Richards & Co Ltd
Address1 82 High Street
Address2 40 Grange Road, Bournbrook, Birmingham; 12 Corporation Street
Address3 40 Grange Road, Bournbrook and 24 Bennett's Hill
Address4 40 Grange Road, Bournbrook
City/Town Birmingham
Country United Kingdom
Trade Gun maker
Other Address 170 New Bond Street; 72 Old Bond Street; 25-27 Laurence Pountney Lane; Holford Mills, Perry Bar, Birmingham; Belmont Row, Birmingham; 14 Ironmonger Lane, London; 178 New Bond Street; 19 Gracechurch Street; Leadenhall Buildings, Leadenhall Street, London; 12 Corporation Street, Birmingham; 23 Conduit Street, London; Barnet Gate, London;
Dates 1812-date
Notes

William Westley Richards (known as Westley) was born in 1788. He was the son of Theophilus Richards, a gun maker and silver gun furniture maker, formerly of High Street and John Street, Birmingham, who himself was descended from a large and wealthy family of gunmakers, silversmiths, jewellers, cutlers and merchants. William Westley Richards had two elder brothers, Bingham (b.1780) and Theophilus (b.1786), and a younger sister, Caroline (b.1792). There was another sister, name unknown, who died in 1810. In 1812, when he was 24 years old, William Westley reportedly established his own firm at 82 High Street, Birmingham which may have been owned by his father. He may have been influenced in establishing his own business by Forsyth's successes with percussion ignition for which William Westley obtained a manufacturing licence. His elder brother, Theophilus, may have taken over their father's business which may have been located at 33 High Street. The property at 82 High Street comprised shop and residence with a large piece of ground which William Westley would later use for extending the workshops and building a shooting range which was used up to 1898. In 1813 William Westley and his father were instrumental in the establishment of the Birmingham Proof House. On 8 August 1814 William Westley and his wife, Anne (nee Barlow) had a son who they named Westley. Anne subsequently died and in about 1825 William Westley married Harriet (nee Seale). They had three sons, Charles (d.1871), George (b.1828 d.1863) and William (d.1843). In 1815 William Westley appointed William Bishop as his London agent. Bishop had done gold and silver inlay work for several London gunmakers and, from about 1800, gold and platinum lined touch holes for John and Joseph Manton. From 1823 to 1825 William Bishop was in partnership with John Wicks, they were recorded trading as Wicks & Bishop, jewellers, goldsmiths and sword cutlers, also gun and pistol warehousemen (see William Bishop below). However, Bishop had been trading at 170 New Bond Street in and before 1815. William Westley probably gave him guns to work on and Bishop probably sold some of them and thus became William Westley's London agent. Only from 1826 did the street directories record the firm of Westley Richards as the occupant of 170 New Bond Street.

On 10 November 1821 William Westley patented a percussion primer lock which ignited loose fulminate placed there by a magazine hinged to the lock. As the cock fell the priming magazine was thrown back by a bar leaving the priming exposed to the cock (No. 4611). In about 1830, and probably only for a year or less, it appears the firm occupied premises at 72 Old Bond Street, London. This address could have been an engraving mistake but it has been seen on a cased 15 bore percussion sporting gun (serial No. 2197). It may be that there was a temporary move to these premises while 170 New Bond Street was re-furbished. On 11 February 1831 William Westley patented a T-shaped percussion tube and nipple (No. 6071) about which Hawker said "Of all the inventions (for common-sized guns) that have been brought out since the flourishing days of Joseph, this, in my humble opinion, is the best. I have tried it repeatedly and never yet knew it to fail; and my son shot with it for a whole season, and never once had a miss fire. The next season he accompanied me to the coast, where we had heavy seas and much wet weather; and while my copper caps were missing about two shots out of ten, his primer never failed once". The touchhole was protected by a shield rather than a nipple; the shield being a short wide tube in the side of which was an aperture to allow the escape of the flash and smoke. William Westley has been credited with patent No. 7051 of 1831 (no specific date known) for a percussion primer. In 1834 the firm introduced the first flip-up tangent sight to be used by the British army. On 22 March 1836 William Westley patented a "double-layered" percussion cap (No 7041). The detonating powder was not placed inside the head of the cap but on a false bottom near the mouth of the cap thus the ignition of the primer only caused partial destruction of the cap.

In 1835, Hawker wrote that William Westley was "Joe Manton the second; and deservedly so from what I have lately seen of him and of his work. Mr Richards is really a scientific man, instead of having more tongue than brains like many of our charlatans. His barrels are as good as any in the world, being made of pure Holland stubbs, and twisted in a manner best suited for service and safety. Within these last few years Mr Richards has run some of the best London Gunmakers so hard that they began to wish him and his prime minister Bishop in - "another and better world!" On 8 March 1838 he patented a tubular primer magazine (No. 7582). In 1840, William Westley was appointed Gunmaker to HRH the Prince Consort. He retired in that year aged 52, but his inventions continued. On 14 December 1841 patent No. 9177 covered a mainspring with a boss which had a circular face to fit the curved side of the tumbler (rather than the usual hook or swivel), and a patch type percussion primer. In these primers the detonating powder was placed on pasteboard, tin foil or other material covered by a waterproof material. The primers were placed in a pan of dovetailed or other suitable shape. These primers had Nelson's motto "England expects ... printed inside them so that the printing could not be seen unless the primer was dissected. This made the primers suitable for sale to other countries!

On 20 March 1852 under patent No. 14027, William Westley patented a double action percussion revolver, rifle muzzles lined with steel inserts, and conical bullets with a hollow base containing horn, gutta percha or wood plugs or cores, or a metal ring. Also included in the patent was wadding made of gutta percha and cork, gutta-percha caps and tubes.

On 3 May 1854 he patented a revolver ramrod which slid between guides attached to the barrel(No. 993).

On 24 April 1855 he patented a revolver lock located in the stock (No. 911).

William Westley's son, Westley Richards, took over the firm in 1840 at the age of 26. It may have been at about this time that Charles Richards, half-brother to Westley Richards joined the firm. He was employed on the "commercial side" (accounts dept) of the firm.

In 1845 Westley married Emma (daughter of Vere Fane and niece of the Earl of Westmoreland). They had a daughter but Emma fell from her horse in 1847 and died aged only 24. Westley never married again.

In 1849 Westley Richards registered a design for a percussion cap (No. 1806). In that year Hawker wrote about the firm's factory saying "... surpasses all the gun establishments I ever saw or heard of. He had his whole army of workmen, as it were, in a barrack with spacious grounds to try his guns from the very windows of the workmen. To have seen so many departments of gunmaking in London I must have gone over 20 miles of ground". IIn 1851 the firm exhibited at the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace where they won a special award. In 1852 Westley registered a design for a rifle sight (No. 3109). In that year the firm was given a contract to improve the Minie rifle, the 1853 Enfield was the result for which the firm was paid £1000. In 1853 the firm opened a shop the City of London at 25-27 Laurence Pountney Lane. The opening of the shop was an attempt to win the custom of wealthy city businessmen and it was run as a separate entity from the 170 New Bond Street agency which William Bishop managed. It was not sufficiently successful and closed in 1857. On 3 December 1855 Westley Richards and Joseph Rock Cooper patented a percussion breech-loader with barrels that reciprocated and turned to the side (No. 2718). On 25 March 1858 Westley Richards patented his first hinged breech block "Monkey-tail" percussion breech-loader (No. 633), cartridge extractors for the Monkey-tail breech-loader, and a stock attachment method. This patent was followed on 24 September 1858 by patent No. 2149 (which referred to patent No. 633). Although this was for a sliding bolt single bite snap action (see also 2623 of 1864 for further improvements) it was also an early attempt to improve the Lefaucheaux breech-loader by moving the bite away from the hinge pin. In fact, the bite was an extension of the top rib into a slot in the action face (a doll's head) with a bolt to hold it in place operated by a long top lever. This gun was also the first "Bar-in-Wood" action which the firm used for all their early hammer guns.

The Monkey-tail breech-loader, so named because of the shape of the breech lever, was made in .450 calibre and had a Whitworth rifled barrel. It was trialled by the Army from 1861 and was the first breech-loader to be adopted in 1866 (by the cavalry); the Portugese army adopted it from 1867. It proved to be a very popular rifle in South Africa where it was widely sold and used by the Boers up to the second Boer War (1889-1902) by which date the Mauser had became popular. A number of Monkey-tail sporting guns were made. In 1859 the firm was re-named Westley Richards & Co. In 1860 John Deeley joined the firm as an accountant. He was born in 1825, the son of a steel toy polisher. He was poorly educated as a child, reportedly this was partly his own fault, but he later developed a liking for learning and, to a very great extent, educated himself. In 1860 Westley Richards patented improvements to cartridges and caps pertinent to ordnance (patent no. 1670). On 21 August 1861 he patented a forward sliding barrel breech-loader, and target rifle sights (patent No. 2093). The first record in the censuses relating to the Richards family occurred in the 1861 census when Westley was recorded staying at the George Hotel in Rugby. He described himself as a widower and gentleman no reference being made to guns and gun making. The hotel was near to the market place and it is interesting to speculate that he might have been buying horses. On 11 September 1862 he patented a sliding bolt single bite snap action (No. 2506) which, instead of the 1859 long top lever had a short pull back thumb piece between the hammers the front end of which was the bolt. The patent also described the shape of the bar-in-wood stock and fore-end so that the wood always covered the joint (Crab Joint). This short top lever was the pre-cursor of the famous Westley Richards top lever (improved by patent No. 2623 of 1864). This lever is still being used by the firm. Of the top lever J H Walsh, editor of the "Field" said: "The first great improvement in the hinged Lefaucheux action was made by Westley Richards. ... The Westley Richards action is opened by a top lever, which is so convenient that by public accord it has been adopted by the most fashionable gun-makers of the day".

On 30 December 1862 Westley Richards registered patent No. 3478 for screw adjustable rifle sights and a method of converting breech loaders to muzzle loaders. Westley Richards was firmly of the opinion that barrels should be locked top and bottom, anything else being "un-mechanical". In this he agreed with Greener rather more than with the top London makers. On 27 April 1863 Westley Richards registered patent No. 1051 for barrels made from reinforced steel tubes. On 22 October 1864 patent No. 2623 covered modifications to the top-lever patent No. 633 of 1858, it also covered a design that allowed the Monkey-tail (No. 2506 of 1862) to use rim-fire cartridges. The patent described a top lever pivoted behind the doll's head on the right side engages a shoulder on the top strap. Moving the lever to the right or pulling it back drew back the bolt. The patent included a variation where the top lever pivoted only on the right side. Patent No. 3478 covered a rifle sight, a chamber plug for converting the Monkey-tail to a muzzle-loader, and a machine rest. The date of this patent has not been traced. In 1865 Westley’s father, William Westley Richards died. In this year, either the firm or Westley Richards in his personal capacity joined Moore & Harris in a partnership established to save the manufacturing business of Moore & Harris from closure. The venture resulted in the business being sold to W & C Scott & Son within the year. On 6 March 1866 patent No. 688 allowed the Monkey-tail breechloader to use metallic or paper cartridges with internal primers. Patent No. 1960 of 28 July in that year covered modifications to patent No. 633 of 1858, also No. 3243 of 1866 (below) referring to modifications to centre fire and pin fire mechanisms. This was related to the introduction of the solid drawn brass cartridge. Patent No. 3243 of 8 December 1866 covered shaped chambers for flangeless cartridges in the Monkey-tail breech-loader. These appear to have been the patents which led to the development of the No. 1 Carbine cartridge and the No. 2 Musket cartridge. On 12 December 1867 patent No. 3539 was for a hinged and sliding opening cocking breech action, it referred to No. 688 of 1866. On 12 June 1868 patent No. 1931 covered a front hinged block Martini-like breech-loader, and a rear hinged block (Free State Martini), and stocks. It referred to No. 1960 of 1866. This patent was improved by patent No. 2427 of 13 August 1869 which itself was subject to a number of improvements. At some time in 1868 Westley Richards registered a patent (No. 3068) far a cartridge (nothing more known). On 1 December 1869 patent No. 3481 was for a safety that blocked the triggers. Patent No. 3641 of 16 December 1869 was for a rear hinged falling block operated by a lever in front of the trigger guard, it referred to No. 2427 of 1869. A few days later on 29 December patent No. 3763 was for the same. On 18 January 1870 patent No. 144 was for improvements to patent No. 2427 of 1869.

On 9 August 1870 patent No. 2205 was for a handguard which could be fitted to overheated barrels. On 25 October 1870 patent No. 2809 covered improvements to the hinged breech block covered by No. 144 of 1870, and improved strikers and bayonet fixings. In 1870 Westley Richards undertook to supply the Prussian Government with 150,000 Mauser rifles and 100 million cartridges. The Westley Richards Arms & Ammunition Company was set-up for this purpose. This company bought and rebuilt Holford Mills, Perry Bar (formerly Oldford Mills, Handsworth, owned by J & J Turner). It gave 82 High Street and Belmont Row as it's addresses. The precise history is not clear but it seems that Westley Richards went into partnership with Thomas Greenwood and John Batley, and the partnership bought the firm of E & A Ludlow at Belmont Row. In January 1872 the National Arms and Ammunition Company Limited took over the business. Lord Lichfield was chairman and John Deeley was a director. The company ceased operations in the late 1880s and was liquidated in 1896. On 14 June 1871 patent No. 1572 was for improvements to 2506 of 1862, 2427 of 1869, and 2809 of 1870, a breech loading action (the third and final development of the top bite) and a hinged block breech-loader. In 1871 Westley was recorded in the census living alone at the back of 82 High Street. He described himself as gun manufacturer born in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham. In 1871 Charles Richards died, aged 47, and with Westley as the senior partner John Deeley became "sole commercial manager and director of affairs".

William Bishop also died in 1871; for the next two years a sign in the window of the shop at 170 New Bond Street stated "Westley Richards (Minus Agent)". On 28 October 1872 patent No. 3195 was taken out, it referred to 1572 of 1871 and covered improvements to Chassepot and similar rifles (sliding breech block for use with metallic cartridges and improvements to vertical sliding breech). Martini apparently copied this design too closely when he developed his famous Martini action, he infringed the patent and the British government had to pay the National Arms & Ammunition Company Ltd, the licensees of the patents, £45,000 in royalties. On 14 December 1872 William Anson, foreman of the machine shop, patented his famous push rod fore-end catch under patent No 3791. Westley Richards retired from active management of the firm in 1872, aged 58, but he retained joint "chairmanship" with C Couchman, his friend and a "director" of the firm. John Deeley (1825-1913), who had joined the firm in 1860 as an accountant, became the senior "director". The reason Westley Richards retired from the firm was ill health but he continued to pursue his interest in breeding horses. This was probably when he moved to Ashwell Hall, Ashwell, Oakham, Rutland, where at times he had up to 30 hunters in his stables. At some time, the firm received Royal Warrants from HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duke of Connaught. In 1873 Westley Richards & Co acquired limited liability and became Westley Richards & Co Ltd.

On 19 April 1873 the Deeley-Edge rifle was patented (No. 1422), this had fewer moving parts than the old falling block and Martini actions, and was more compact. The same patent covered the John Deeley and J S Edge lever catch fore-end catch. James Simeon Edge was the son of John William Edge of Manchester who worked with Joseph Whitworth in rifle development; J S Edge, worked for his father at one time, but then moved to Birmingham where he worked for Westley Richards eventually becoming foreman of the sporting and military rifle department. On 11 May 1875 William Anson, foreman of the Westley Richards machine shop (see E Anson & Co), and John Deeley patented the famous Anson & Deeley box lock action. The patent (No. 1756) was first used with a snap-action under-lever but this was soon replaced by the Scott spindle and Purdey sliding bolt. The design reduced the number of moving parts from eighteen in the normal sidelock, to three. Deeley conceived the idea, Anson worked out the details of the design. John Deeley advised by W E Metford and Sir Henry Halford, developed and supervised the work on W E Metford's shallow and semi-circular cut rifling when it was adopted by the firm in 1875, 14 years before it was adopted by the government for the Lee-Metford rifle in 1889. John was an expert rifle shot, a member of the English Eight rifle team, and won competitions at Wimbledon and elsewhere. The firm's "Deeley-Edge Metford" match target rifles were the most successful target rifles from 1880 to 1887. John Deeley's sons, John and George worked for the company; John in the rifle and military gun department, and George in the accounts department. When they joined the firm is not known.

In 1875 the firm won a Gold Medal in the Chile exhibition, and in 1876 they won another in Philadelphia. In 1876 William Anson patented a rocking top or grip safety which bolted the triggers (No. 4513) (both these patents were licensed to Joseph Brazier & Sons by Robert Edward Couchman - a director of the company and son (?) of C Couchman. Another attempt was made in 1876 to gain business in the City of London and a shop opened at 14 Ironmonger Lane. In 1877 it moved to 19 Gracechurch Street. In 1877 the firm won a Gold Medal at the South African Exhibition.
In 1878 the New Bond Street premises in London were re-numbered, 170 changed to 178. On 13 March 1878 patent No. 1004 by John Deeley and J S Edge covered a variation to patent No. 1422 of 1873 (their vertical sliding block action and fore-end patent). On 19 March 1878 patent No. 1085 by the firm covered a top extension locking mechanism with a circular bolt for a breech-loader.

On 7 March 1879 patent No. 907 by William Anson and John Deeley covered a safety which blocked the striker holes and an intercepting sear, it referred to No. 4513 of 1876. In 1880 Leslie Bown Taylor (b.1863) joined the firm and A H Gale was appointed manager of the shop in Gracechurch Street in London. L B Taylor's speciality is not known. On 2 March 1880 patent No. 930 by W W Greener had covered the Greener "Facile Princeps" (easily the first) barrel cocking hammerless box lock action. Greener was one of the many gun makers who had been licensed to use the Westley Richards / Anson and Deeley boxlock patent for which they paid 15 shillings per gun, but they had another idea which entailed a sliding rod or hook on the barrel lump which cocked the locks. Westley Richards sued for infringement of their patent and the case went to appeal at the House of Lords. Westley Richards they lost the case on the grounds that the Greener patent was different in that although it was desirable to fit the fore-end, their gun could be cocked without the fore-end attached. The 1881 census records Westley living at Ashwell Hall, he described himself as a J P (magistrate / Justice of the Peace). He was living with various servants most employed in his stables. On 21 March 1881 patent No. 1241 by John Deeley and J S Edge was for another vertical sliding breech-block action, and No. 3143 on 19 July by J S Edge and John Deeley was for a vertical sliding breech block action with a side lever and magazine. It was in this year that the firm was appointed gunmaker to the Duke of Edinburgh.

On 26 August 1882 William Anson registered patent No. 4089 for an intercepting safety sear. In 1883 the firm closed the Gracechurch Street shop and moved to Leadenhall Buildings where they stayed until 1889. On 11 April 1883 William Anson and John Deeley took out patent No. 1833 for a modification to their box lock action patent No. 1756 of 1875. It was not seen as a significant improvement on the original design. On 3 March 1884 patent No. 4292 by William Anson was for a modification to the cocking mechanism referred to in patent No. 1833 of 1883. Again, it was not seen as a significant improvement on the original design. On 3 November 1884 patent No. 14526 by John Deeley was for an ejector for a breech loading action with John Deeley's (John Deeley Jnr) fore-end ejector mechanism. This patent was widely copied and the firm was forced to defend it in Court. On 20 November 1884 William Anson patented an ejector operated by a spring on the extractor (No. 15299). In 1884 the firm won a Gold Medal at the Calcutta Exhibition. It was at about this time that the range of guns produced by the company started to expand. Up to the 1880s, the company produced shotguns in all calibres and a range of half a dozen double rifles but they were, in the main, produced only in "Plain" and "Best" finishes.

On 23 April 1885 patent No. 5049 by John Deeley and F J Penn was different types of opening cocking and closing mainspring compression mechanisms for the Anson & Deeley boxlock action. In 1886 C Couchman died and Westley Richards appointed Henry Richards, Westley's cousin and a partner in Theophilus Richards & Co of 33 High Street, Birmingham, and Thomas Richards of 53 High Street, Birmingham, a director. Theophilus Richards & Co were merchants and, up to 1833, gun dealers (see Theophilus Richards of 26 High Street, Birmingham). On 26 March 1886 a further patent (No. 4289) was registered by John Deeley for his ejector mechanism. On 9 December 1886 W Anson registered patent No. 16138 for an ejector on the extractor mechanism covered by his patent No. 15299 of 1884. On 9 May 1888, F J Penn and John Deeley registered patent No. 6913 for improvements to their ejector mechanism covered by patent Nos. 14526 of 1884 and 4289 of 1886. On 16 May 1888 William Anson registered patent No. 7274 for a breech loading action with an elongated bar and lumps and its associated cocking mechanism. It was in 1888 that John Deeley Jnr left the firm due to ill health, he died in 1893. In 1889 at the Paris exhibition, the firm was the only English firm to win a Grand Prix award, they also won a Gold Medal at the South African exhibition. On 25 November 1890 F J Penn and John Deeley registered patent No. 19145 for a screw-in bolt head on a bolt action service rifle, in 1892 this was licensed to BSA for the production of the Mark II Lee-Metford rifle. This improved bolt replaced the former bolt adopted by the government which had proved unreliable. Westley was recorded in the 1891 census aged 77 years and living at Old Hall, Ashwell with a butler and four other servants. On 2 July 1892 patent No. 12324 by F J Penn and John Deeley covered trigger safety sears which would prevent double discharges. On 18 May 1894 L B Taylor registered patent No. 9711, this was either for a bayonet attachment or barrel joint (reports differ). On 24 May 1894 he registered patent No. 10068 for a falling block action to which a hair trigger could be fitted.

In May 1895 patent No. 9410 covered metallic cartridge cases. On 25 September 1895 L B Taylor registered patent No. 17882 for a split extractor and modifications to 9711 of 1894 for detachable barrels to enable use with different calibres. On 11 November 1895 F J Penn and John Deeley patented a selective single trigger mechanism (No. 21346). In 1889 after the shop at Leadenhall Buildings closed A H Gale moved to manage the London shop at 178 New Bond Street. In 1895 (some say earlier) he formed the Middlesex Clay Bird Shooting Club, located opposite the Old Welsh Harp Hotel at Hendon. This was an 18 acre shooting ground where, in 1912, the company sold a course of six lessons at 2 guineas, and one hour of instruction cost 7/6d (37.5p); 100 clays and 100 cartridges cost 8/4d (48p) each. By about 1894, the factory and offices at 82 High Street in Birmingham were proving too small for the volume of business being conducted there. The company bought land at 40 Grange Road, Bournbrook, Birmingham, and built a new factory and offices. Exactly when the company moved into these premises is not known, dates vary from 1895 to 1899. A larger shop was opened at 12 Corporation Street in 1899. It is said that guns of this period which carry a prefixed serial number were plainer guns not considered to be best quality. Perhaps the company sought to increase retail and wholesale sales by offering larger quantities of plainer and inexpensive guns. On 27 May 1897 Westley Richards died, he was 83 years old. On 13 July 1897 George Dawson Deeley, the second son of John Deeley senior, was appointed a director of the company. He had been an accountant with his own practice in Birmingham. On 11 May 1897 D V Johnstone and L B Taylor registered patent No. 11646 for a removable Martini action, and on 21 May they registered patent No. 12573 for a loaded indicator on Martini actions. On 19 June 1897 L B Taylor patented an adjuster for cross wires on a telescopic sight (No. 14876). On 28 July 1897 patent No. 17731 by John Deeley and L B Taylor referred to patent Nos. 1756 of 1875 and 1833 of 1883 and covered the famous Westley Richards drop locks or detachable locks. These were developed by Howard A Davies, foreman of the action department, who was asked by Leslie Taylor to invent an action which did not need any unsightly pins showing on the outside of the action. Having achieved this, it was clear that to mount the lockwork on internal plates and make the action detachable was a small further step. The original boxlock was one of the most influential inventions of the breech-loading era; it was reliable and could be serviced by any reasonably competent gunsmith, and it was promoted as the best action for people going overseas. Unfortunately, this improvement to it has never received the accolade it deserved. H A Davies later worked for the company in London and went on to join B E Chaplin in London and establish his own business in Winchester.

On 14 October 1897 patent No. 23637 by E H Parsons and L B Taylor covered an aperture sight for Lee service rifles which did not interfere with the operation of the bolt. In November 1897 L B Taylor registered a patent No. 27580 for small arms (no details). On 5 February 1898 patent No. 3010 by John Deeley and F J Penn covered improvements to 21346 of 1895, safety bolt to prevent double discharge. On 8 March 1898 patent No. 5627 by L B Taylor and E H Parsons covered a safety mechanism for bolt action rifles of Lee Metford type. Between May and December 1898 L B Taylor registered patent No. 14659 for bullets (no details). On 3 December 1898 L B Taylor registered patent No. 25515 for spring loaded peep-sights and leaf back-sights for bolt action rifles. In 1899 John Deeley, aged 74, gave up the day to day management of the company and became chairman; Leslie Taylor, who had become company manager in 1895, became managing director. In about 1883 Leslie Taylor had developed the .500 long range rifle which appears to have been one of the first to use the new smokeless powders. In the 1890s, he developed the .318 bore (accelerated express), the .360 High Velocity Cordite Express, the .425 and .476 (these became popular when the .303 and .450 calibres were banned in India and the Sudan, see below). On 8 December 1899 L B Taylor and E H Parsons registered patent No. 24425 for improvements to No. 5627 of 1898, safety for bolt action rifles. In early 1900 L B Taylor registered patent No. 1857 for rifle sights. On 12 February 1900 E H Parsons and L B Taylor patented windage adjustable leaf back-sight (No. 2735), and on 8 November L B Taylor registered patent No. 20103 for an additional peep-sight attachment to a leaf back-sight and a ring clip foresight.

In 1900 the company was awarded a Gold Medal at the Paris Exhibition. In 1901 the company were appointed gun and rifle makers to His Majesty King Edward VII. In January or February 1901 L B Taylor registered patent No. 3897 for bullets (no details). On 29 May in that year L B Taylor registered patent No. 11062 for improvements to selective single trigger patents 16897 of 1898 (not found) and 3952 of 1899 (not found - Lard single trigger). There was also the "Westley Richards Patent One-Trigger" which dated to about 1903 and may have been the same. On 1 July 1901 patent No. 13345 by E H Parsons and L B Taylor was for a screw elevation adjuster for a rifle rear-sight which had an alternative button adjuster. In 1903 the company received a Royal Warrant from His Imperial Majesty the Shah of Persia and the Royal Family. In about 1903 Douglas J P Haines became manager of the company's retail branch at 12 Corporation Street, Birmingham. He was previously employed in the Bournbrook factory and trained under John Deeley. He was made a director of the company in about 1907. On 16 January 1903 L B Taylor registered patent No. 1130 for detachable sidelocks and a trigger guard. On 17 June he registered patent No. 13548 for detachable adjustable telescopic sight mounts. In 1904 Leslie Taylor initiated work on shot and ball guns in response to the development of Holland & Holland's "Paradox" gun and bullets (see "Explora and Fauneta Guns" under "Other Info" below). In October 1904 he registered patent No. 23202 for bullets (no details).

On 24 January 1905 E H Parsons and L B Taylor registered patent No. 1389 for windage adjustable leaf sights, this referred to No. 2735 of 1900 and 13345 of 1901. On 6 February 1906 C Gardner and L B Taylor registered patent No. 2863 for a cocking lever for an airgun pellet chamber. On 2 March 1906 L B Taylor patented an extractor for use with rimless cartridges (patent No. 5098). On 7 March they registered patent No. 5495 for an air rifle for training servicemen, similar in size and weight to the standard service rifle. On 22 October 1906 L B Taylor and E H Parsons patented barrel locking bolt head lugs (patent No. 23932). On 6 February 1906 L B Taylor and C Gardner registered patent No. 2506 for a lever cocking air weapon which automatically opened the rotary loading port. On 2 March 1906 L B Taylor registered patent No. 5098 for a rimless cartridge case extractor. In 1906, the government banned the sale in India and Sudan of, for non-military use, guns and ammunition, cartridge cases and bullets of .450 and .303 calibres (the military calibres). There were substantial numbers of these rifles, and in the wrong hands these were an obvious risk. Westley Richards .476 became popular and this competed with the Jeffery .475 cartridge, and Holland's .500/.465. In the smaller calibres, the .360 HV Express became popular. In February or March 1907 L B Taylor registered patent No. 4275 for bullets (no details) and in March or April 1907 he registered patent No. 8390 for bolt guns (no details). On 7 May 1907 John Deeley and L B Taylor registered patent No. 10567 for improvements to patent No. 17731 of 1897, a lighter trigger for the company's drop lock action. On 20 September in that year L B Taylor and E H Parsons patented a bolt, ejector and safety for a bolt action (No. 20889). On 9 November 1907 E Anson, who was in business on his own account at 145 Steelhouse Lane, registered patent No. 24837 for a drop-down air pistol mechanism, this was made by Westley Richards and sold under the name "Highest Possible". In July or August 1908 L B Taylor registered patent No. 17980 which covered bullets (no details). On 30 October 1908 L B Taylor patented a hinged action floor plate which referred to 17731/1898 and 10567/1907 (the drop lock action). Also in 1908 L B Taylor patented cartridge improvements (patent No. 27166) and, on 28 December 1908 E H Parsons and L B Taylor patented improvements to back-sights (patent No. 28195 which referred to 13345 of 1901 and 1389 of 1905).

On 2 January 1909 L B Taylor patented a large magazine for Mauser/Baer type rifles. In October 1909 L B Taylor registered a patent for small arms (no details). On 17 November 1909 L B Taylor patented a two-pull single trigger (No. 26659). In 1910 the company won a Gold Medal at the Allahabad Exhibition. In November 1910 the Birmingham shop moved to 24 Bennett's Hill. On 5 August 1911 A L Chevallier and L B Taylor patented an anti-cant device for rifle back-sights (No. 17843), and on 31 August L B Taylor and Charles Gardner (export manager for Westley Richards) patented an underlever opening and cocking action with coil springs (No. 19403). In 1911 the company were appointed gunmakers to His Majesty King George V. Also in 1911, the firm made a three barrelled gun according to Edwinson Green's patent No. 15307. Westley Richards thought so highly of the design that they exhibited the gun at the 1911 Turin Exhibition and won a gold medal with it (for other 3 barrelled rifles see Child, Dickson and Boss). At this exhibition the company also won two Grand Prix Awards, and Leslie Taylor was awarded a Diploma of Honour. It was in 1911 that Henry Richards, aged 87 and the last member of the Richards family to be involved in the firm, retired as a director of the company.

In 1913, John Deeley died and both the chairmanship and a majority of the shares of the company were inherited by George Dawson Deeley. John Deeley had left the company in a very healthy and profitable condition, the catalogue had changed from a single sheet of paper in the 1870s, to a six page leaflet in the 1890s, to an illustrated centenary catalogue in 1912 containing 214 pages with 30 to 40 different models of shotgun and about 80 rifles listed. In 1913 G D Deeley, Leslie Taylor and Charles Gardner bought the name and goodwill and assets of the firm of F T Baker which was bankrupt. F T Baker Ltd moved to 64 Haymarket, London, a Mr McLoughlin was manager. It ceased trading in 1916, but the company exists today. On 13 May 1913 L B Taylor and E H Parsons registered patent No. 11148 for a rifle back-sight with an adjustable vertical side bar. On 20 May 1913 patent No. 11681 by L B Taylor and F Hughes covered hinged or detachable inspection ports. In 1913 the Westley Richards "Ovundo" system was reportedly registered under design No. 354045. The Ovundo was Westley Richards boxlock (droplock) answer to the Edwinson Green, Boss, Purdey and Woodward sidelock over/under shotguns. It was made in three qualities; The "Highest Quality" with detachable locks, side plates and single or double trigger sold for £150, the "All Round" model sold for £ 105, and the "Special Model" with no sideplates sold for £65. On 123 March 1914 Westley Richards & Co and L B Taylor patented improved cartridge retaining lips on rifle magazines. On 8 April 1914 patent No. 8853 covered a concealed extension and hook bolting mechanism for the Ovundo, and on 16 April in that year patent No. 9410 covered pivoted firing pins or supplementary tumblers for the Ovundo; this patent referred to patent No. 17731 of 1897.

On 13 March 1914 the company and L B Taylor registered patent No. 6362 for a modification to the retaining lips in rifle magazines. On 8 April L B Taylor and the company registered patent No. 8853 for a concealed extension and hook mechanism for Over/Under guns; on 16 April they registered patent No. 9410 for pivoted firing pins or additional tumblers for detachable locks on Over/Under guns, this patent referred to patent No. 17731 of 1897. During the First World War the situation changed considerably, as might be expected. The company virtually closed the sporting gun business, and they repaired, converted and re-barrelled service rifles (code marked M268), and produced sights. The company increased its staff by 400%. In 1917 A H Gale left the company, no doubt he retired. The shop at 178 New Bond Street moved to 23 Conduit Street. Either then or at some later date, the manager was a Mr A J Redfern (an E Redfern represented the company at the funeral of Samuel Robertson of Boss & Co in 1934). On 14 March 1918 L B Taylor and E H Parsons registered patent No. 122078 for a leaf back-sight with parallel notches in the edge. On 27 March 1919 L B Taylor registered patent No. 135410 for a detachable cover plate (referred to patent No. 23088 of 1908). On 4 July 1919 Westley Richards & Co, L B Taylor and C Gardner registered patent No. 150864 for a rebounding mechanism, fixing hammer and bridle for a coil spring operated hammer lock. On 19 November 1919 L B Taylor and E H Parsons patented a rotatable variable foresight (patent No. 155439). On 16 January 1920 L B Taylor, A L Chevallier and J H Worthington patented a barrel rifling for use with special projectiles (patent No. 161319). The nature of the projectiles is not known. On 12 August 1920 L B Taylor and D J P Haines registered patent No. 170703 which covered hinged inspection ports in sideplates.

Between 1922 and 1930 the company were appointed gun makers to the Maharajah of Udaipur (1922), the Maharajah of Patiala (1923), the Maharajah of Rewa (1929), and the Sultan of Johore (1930). In about 1930 the shooting school in London moved to Barnet Gate. The years between the wars, including the Great Depression, were not easy but the company managed to stay profitable although at much reduced levels. Leslie Taylor died on 22 September 1930, his successor was Charles Gardner (died in 1947). Between 1933 and 1937 the company were appointed gunmakers to the Maharajah of Alwar (1933), the Nawab of Rampur (1934), His Majesty the Emperor of Annam (1936), and His Royal Highness Prince Baru of Bangkok (1937). The Second World War was a repeat of the first, with the company assisting the war effort by making smoke dischargers and assembling SMLE rifles (marked M268) and repairing them, but when it was over the the company was virtually bankrupt and staff levels had to be much reduced. In 1946 the company went into voluntary liquidation and the rights to the assets and name were sold for £15,000 by the liquidator to Captain E D Barclay who established a new company of the same name. E D Barclay subsidised the gunmaking business with profits made from tool making and the sale of whaling harpoon guns. In 1948 Malcolm Lyell joined the company, he rose to become manager of the London shop in Conduit Street, and became a director of the company in 1951. In 1950 the company were appointed gunmakers to the Ruler of Swat, and in 1953 to HRH Prince Ali Reza Pahlei of Persia, Maharajah Holkar of Indore, and HM Bao Dai Emperor of Vietnam. In 1956 Malcolm Lyell and the company signed a 30 year agency agreement which resulted in Malcolm Lyell leaving the company to form his own company, Westley Richards (Agency) Co Ltd, and take over the 23 Conduit Street shop. This was an agency agreement that Westley Richards & Co Ltd was to regret. The diversifications of the early 1950s were not sufficient to keep the company going, and in 1957 a majority of the shares in Westley Richards & Co Ltd were bought by Walter Clode, a captain in the 10th Royal Hussars born in India in 1929. A Mr Rogers, husband of Captain Barclay's niece, was managing director of the company at the time.

Walter Clode searched the old records of the company and went to India to buy back the classic guns sold there over the previous hundred years or so, to renovate and resell them. He and Mr Rogers also expanded the precision engineering side of the business into tool making. In 1959, Malcolm Lyell became a director of Holland & Holland, a major competitor of Westley Richards & Co Ltd. Walter Clode found himself in an awkward position in which he could neither terminate the agreement with Malcolm Lyell nor establish a London shop under the Westley Richards name. In 1986 the company signed two agency agreements, one in Edinburgh with John Dickson, and the other in London with Swaine, Adeney & Brigg, umbrella and leathergoods makers of 186 Piccadilly. Swaine, Adeney & Brigg opened a gunshop at their premises and installed Nick Louca, formerly shop manager for Cogswell & Harrison at 168 Piccadilly, as manager. Swaine, Adeney & Brigg closed the shop in 1989, Nick Louca took over the agency but terminated it in 1990. In 1960 the shop at 24 Bennett's Hill, Birmingham closed and a showroom was opened at the factory at 40 Grange Road, Bournbrook. In 1972 Mr Rogers retired and Walter Clode became managing director. In 1987 Simon Clode, Walter's son joined the firm. He became managing director in May 1992. In 1989 Malcolm Lyell, at the time a director of Holland & Holland, became a non-executive director of Westley Richards. He died in 2011.

In 1997 the company established their own agency company in the USA, prior to this various gun dealers in the States had operated as agents for the company.

Further information is available from the company Tel: + 44 (0) 1213331900 and on their website www.westleyrichards.co.uk. A check on the history of a gun and the issue of a "Certificate of Authenticity" costs £57.50.

Other Info
The firm sold cartridges under the names "A L P Cartridge", "Aquatite", "Brown" (c. early 1880s case by National Arms & Ammunition Co), "Carlton", "Gastight", "Pegamoid" (post 1927), "Right & Left" (post 1910), "Special" (post 1910, 1922 and 1927), "Wizard", "Regent Metal Covered Cartridge", "Explora Hollow Slug Cartridge" and "Fauneta Ball Cartridge".
Explora and Fauneta Guns: From the 1860s if not before (see Lancaster's Colindium rifle / shotgun), there had been a world-wide demand for an all-purpose combination rifle / shotgun. This demand was partially satisfied by "Cape" rifles and other combination guns, and the ordinary shotgun used together with ball ammunition satisfied many, but Holland & Holland's "Paradox" gun became popular with those who could afford it. In 1904 Westley Richards developed their "Explora" (8, 10, 12 and 16 bore) and "Fauneta" (20 and 28 bore) shallow rifled shot and ball guns (also available from 1909 as magnum and super magnum models). These guns could fire either normal shot cartridges or a bullet cartridge. The hollow point type of bullet had an insert of lead, copper, brass or aluminium, all of which gave differing rates of expansion. Leslie Taylor later developed his L T bullet, this was a pointed capped hollow-nosed bullet half as long again as a paradox of the same bore, but the same weight. The 20 bore Fauneta could place 10 shots in a 4 inch group at 100 yards, shooting left and right barrels alternately. It fired a 435 grain bullet that had a higher velocity than a .303 bullet.

William Bishop, widely known at the time as "The Bishop of Bond Street", was a popular extrovert and eccentric who always wore a black silk top hat, swallow tailed coat and white apron.

A keen sportsman, he organised dog and cock fights, and prize fights for the entertainment of his customers but, he was very fond of dogs.

His own favourite terrier, Tiny, was stolen but, unlike most dogs which were sold or ransomed, she was eventually found. The theft prompted the Bishop to campaign for dog theft to become a criminal offence, and he was largely responsible for an Act of Parliament in 1845 which achieved this. It was commonly known as "The Bishop's Act", and gaining Parliamentary approval apparently cost him about £1000 - a lot of money in those days! Bishop (b.1798 in Ealing) was recorded in the 1851 census living at 170 New Bond Street with Elizabeth and John Whefsell (Whessell), his neice and nephew who acted as housekeeper and shopman respectively. He described himself as a silversmith. The 1861 census records him as a gun and silversmith at the same address living with a different housekeeper, a servant and a porter.

Wicks became Bishop's partner in 1823 but in 1825 left the partnership. From this date the shop was recorded in the name of W W Richards.

William Westley Richards was a JP, a trustee of George Fentham's Charity (for about 20 years the Chairman) which supported pupils at the Birmingham Blue Coat School, a Street Commissioner, a member of the Musical Festival Committee, Warden of the Birmingham Assay Office, Churchwarden of St Philip's Church, Chairman of the Bingly Hall Exhibition in 1849 and a juror at the 1851 National Exhibition in Hyde Park, London.

Westley Richards was a JP and High Sheriff Rutland. He was a member of the Carlton Club where he stayed when in London.

Henry Richards was a JP, he was a Warden of the Birmingham Assay Office and a governer of King Edward VI Grammar School.

John Deeley Snr was treasurer of George Dawson's Church for over 17 years (this may explain why George Dawson Deeley was christened Dawson); as a Freemason he was Master of St James's Lodge, and a Past Officer of Provincial Grand Lodge, and Chapter of Staffordshire; he was a member of the Birmingham Liberal Club and of the Midland Club, and he was a member of the Midland Debating Society and the Old Birmingham Book Club. He was a Guardian of the Birmingham Proof House and chairman of its Finance Committee.

Leslie B Taylor was on the Board of Guardians of the Birmingham Proof House, and the Executive of the London and Birmingham Gunmakers Association. He was a Guardian of the Birmingham Proof House, and a member of the Technical Committee of that Board. During his time, the Guardians introduced an apprentice scheme with theoretical instruction and examination, the successful student being issued with a Certificate of Merit and having his name entered in a Register of Apprentices.

Tim


Tim, thank you for posting this. A date issue about a WR DR was bugging me, and I was able to figure it out from the information in your post.


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Thanks Tim


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