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Featured in Great British Brands 2020

Westley Richards

One of the oldest surviving gun and rifle manufacturers in Britain

Westley Richards has been making guns by hand in the heart of England since the Napoleonic Wars. Founded in 1812 by William Westley Richards, it is now the last-remaining gunmaker in Birmingham’s once-famous gun quarter and one of the oldest surviving gun and rifle manufacturers in Britain.


The brand has established a reputation for making guns of the highest quality and sporting firearms whose technical refinement is matched only by the artistry of their decoration. The company is proud to number among its former clients such well-known, audacious sportsmen as Ernest Hemingway, Stewart Granger, and the Maharaja of Alwar.


Westley Richards has an important place in the history of gunmaking, being responsible for several revolutionary innovations. One such invention was in 1875, the ‘boxlock’ action – a hammerless cocking mechanism – first introduced in the shotgun and later used in double rifles. The method was a worldwide success, quickly becoming the dominant form of double-barrelled shotgun action, one whose influence is still apparent today in modern sporting guns.


The company’s guns are renowned for the intricate, beautiful engraving with which they are decorated, so much so that Westley Richards is now regarded as the home of the ‘Art Gun’. The engravings made on the gun and rifle’s metalwork come in a variety of styles and handcrafted techniques. They range from the time-honoured ‘house scroll’, to the ever more popular ornate designs depicting scenes of game animals with gold inlay, and even settings containing precious stones.

The company is proud to number among its former clients audacious sportsmen such as Ernest Hemingway and the Maharaja of Alwar

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The Westley Richards name is synonymous with safari and Africa, with the beautiful landscapes, breathtaking wildlife and awe-inspiring people for which the continent is justly famous. Proud of this long association, which sets it apart from its rivals, the company has recently launched a ready-to-wear collection of safari clothes. Created with the needs of the company’s clients and the demands of the African bush in mind, the designs are classic in style and construction yet modern in their functionality and materials.


One half of the company’s factory is devoted to the guns, the other to the burgeoning leather goods business. The West Midlands has been a centre of leather-making since time immemorial, so it is fitting that Westley Richards should have moved into the business. It began with the manufacture of high-quality slips and cases to protect clients’ guns but is now expanding into other areas, offering a wide range of traditionally tanned and exotic leather goods to adventurous travellers and field sports enthusiasts alike.


As Westley Richards moves into 2020 and beyond, the company has exciting plans to establish itself as the foremost manufacturer of the finest British-made leather goods with the skill and artistry for which the company is widely recognised. Walking through its factory today is a great privilege: with centuries of knowledge and experience in its hands, Westley Richards’ master gunmakers and leather craftsmen and women are bringing to life their clients’ next most-prized possession.