Richards of Birmingham

It all started in Birmingham England. So far, I have found that William Richards married Elizabeth Dennis in 1656, they had four children. William is listed as a baker, it is likely that he owned his own bakery, as his will showed significant assets. In his will, he stated that monies are to be used for his son's apprenticeship. Although William died before Elizabeth. The inventory for both William and Elizabeth are here.

The Richards name became synonymous for fine guns and fine ornaments. Richards's toyshop in Birmingham was where it all started. I am keen to know more about the items sold in this shop, if you have information relating to this shop and its antiquities, please contact me. Contact details at the bottom of this page.

 "these Artists are divided into several branches, as the Gold and Silver Toy Makers, who make Trinkets, Seals, Tweezer and Toothpick cases, Smelling Bottles, Snuff Boxes, and Filigree Work, such as Toilets, Tea Chests, Ink Stands. The Tortoiseshell Toy Maker, makes a beautiful variety of the above and other Articles; as does the Steel; who makes Cork Screws, Buckles, Draw and other Boxes: Snuffers, Watches, Stay Hooks, Sugar knippers &c. and almost all these are likewise made in various metals."

This store was visited by royalty and vip's the world over.

The gun making apparently started with Thomas Richards, although I believe it may have started earlier. I believe there were two branches of the family that made guns. Both are still in existence today but not in family ownership. Westley Richards and William Richards. Although it is said that Thomas Richards founded the Toyshop, it is possible that his eldest brother started the venture, the last Richards to run the Toyshop was George Richards, his son became a doctor and wanted nothing to do with the business, probably due to some internal wrangling as was later to prove costly to George. So the business transferred to George's eldest daughter, who married George Elkington. George Elkington was gifted a patent whilst being a partner with George Richards. It looks as though Mr Elkington decided to take the patent and branch off on his own, he became very rich.

George Richards (son of John Richards and Elizabeth Atkinson) married Mary Chippendale, daughter of Richard Chippendale. Although Richard was buried as Chippendall. There are records of Richard's father inheriting a farm and leaving it to his eldest son. I will be investigating this further, as this will testify to his true identity. Also, Richard was born close to the famous furniture maker Thomas Chippendale. There maybe some mileage in this, and it might also prove how Richard's father inherited a farm.

More to come.....


William Richards & Elizabeth Dennis

    John Richards

Born: Jan 25 1664

Married: January 20 1686

Elizabeth Atkinson

William February 15 1688
George March 25 1698 (Brassfounder & Toy maker)
Thomas date unknown
Josiah date unknown

It is possible that Thomas could be the Gunsmith and I know that Josiah was a Silversmith.


Written by Philip Richards - If you wish to contact me: phil {at}