Westley Richards is one of the oldest surviving traditional English gunmakers. It was founded in 1812 by
William Westley Richards. Their inventions included the Anson & Deeley boxlock actionand the Droplock, which equals in status James Purdey's self opening and Holland & Holland's removable locks.
William Westley Richards set up his gunmaking business in
1812. In 1814, William Westley Richards set up shop in Bond Street, with William Bishop as manager. He became known as 'The Bishop of Bond Street', serving the firm for over fifty years. Among the names associated with Westley Richards are those of Anson and Deeley. John Deeley, managing director of the firm was granted his first patent in 1873, followed by more than thirty patents, gold medals and Royal Warrants during the next twenty five years. Together with William Anson, he invented the Anson & Deeley boxlock action, still widely used throughout the world.
In 1890, the managing directorship passed to Leslie B. Taylor who added another forty eight patents, warrants and medals. At the outbreak of
World War I, Westley Richards was a profitable public company. Then all hands were turned to the war effort. Government orders for the conversion and re-barreling of thousands of riflesput great pressure on the firm, and a huge investment in new machinery and staff was necessary. In peacetime, however, it became impossible to maintain the large workforce, and by the time of the Second World Warthe company was forced into voluntary liquidation, although it continued to trade.
1946Captain E.D. Barclay bought the firm from the liquidators and subsidized the gunmaking business with profits made from whale harpoons and toolmaking. Even these efforts did not prove satisfactory and in 1957he disposed of his shareholding to Walter Clode who is currently chairman of Westley Richards.
It still thrives as a family-run business, occupying the purpose-built gunmaking factory built around the turn of last century.
The firm is still working at the original factory in
Bournbrook, Birmingham. Its double rifles are popular in the United Statesamong safarihunters.
* [http://www.westleyrichards.com/firm/history3.html westleyrichards.com]
* [http://www.sidebysideshotgun.com/articles/anson_deeley_article.html Diagram of Anson & Deeley boxlock action]
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