Westley Richards: Long-Established Specialist Maker of Unrivalled Sporting Goods

By CTH Editors

6 months ago

Keeping gunmaking in Birmingham alive


Westley Richards is an entry in our Great British Brands 2024 book. 

Westley Richards: Great British Brand 2024

‘Westley Richards has been making guns in Birmingham since 1812 so we have a long history but we have nonetheless embraced 21st-century technology, where appropriate, in many ways. In the manufacture of the guns, modern engineering techniques produce the basic action of the weapons. This enables us to produce more guns at a greater level of precision, with finer tolerances, something which is near impossible to achieve – or to replicate consistently – in a handmade gun. Then the skill, experience and artistic soul of the gunmaker – the human element – comes into play to create the beautiful finished product for which Westley Richards is famous.

This marriage of modern technology and traditional gun-making skills allows us to maintain the high standards of workmanship while increasing production. We now make 25 guns a year; a few years ago it was 20 and we are planning to make 30 a year. At present the waiting list for a Westley Richards gun is five years. The latest technology – computer-aided design, virtual testing and modern smelting techniques – have helped us perfect our custom-made brassware, which is such a distinctive feature of our bags and other leather goods. Last autumn we launched the annual special edition of our travel bag collection in walnut suede which, being an unrepeated one-off, will no doubt become a classic.

Likewise, we use digital media but are aware of the importance of using it in a way which respects its audience. Our Explora blog is immensely successful and is a great way of building the brand. Similarly, Westley Richards is well known for the quality of its gun photography, skills which are now utilised making short films for the company. Our guns and leather goods are expensive and rarefied objects so it is essential that the films reflect this and the very specific world they inhabit.’

Stephen Humphries, Creative Director

Westley Richards guns

 

Five Proudest Moments

1. Westley Richards becomes world-famous for its hammerless shotgun in 1875, patented by Anson & Deeley.

2. In 2021, the company produced its most expensive gun: the Qatar Hunting Rifle, decorated with a symphony of gold inlay and gemstones, costing above £350,000.

3. The company’s gun-making apprenticeship scheme began in 2008. Every year since then two new young people have joined this five-year programme in elite craftsmanship.

4. As part of the move to new premises in 2008, the company opened its own in-house leather workshop to produce high-quality gun slips and luggage.

5. Reflecting its long connection with Africa, the company now sells safari-wear, launching the successful Selous Safari Jacket in 2021.

Westley Richards bags

What I’ve Learnt

– Harness the passion of your customers with truly desirable and authentic products and marketing.

– Constantly strive for a quality standard that exceeds customers’ expectations and raises you above your competitors.

– Be mindful about adopting modern media and themes into your communications to attract new audiences, which may deter your existing community.

WESTLEY RICHARDS

130 Pritchett Street, Birmingham B6 4EH

+44 (0)121 333 1900 

westleyrichards.com 

westleyrichardsandco