In The New Creative Director Role At Westley Richards

As we begin 2020, I would like to take this good moment to introduce myself to the friends and followers of Westley Richards who regularly read our much-loved blog, The Explora. My name is Stephen Humphries and I recently joined the company in the brand new role of Creative Director. A thrilling opportunity that will involve the continued elevation of this adored company – through greater visibility to the wider field sports world and taste making community-at-large, and the establishment of Westley Richards fine leather goods & sporting attire as the ultimate in style for the well-versed adventurer.

My background has been within the luxury brands environment for many years having collaborated with a number of globally recognised British and international prestige brands, from fashion, jewellery and leather goods to elite beverages, hospitality and publishing.

Having been surrounded by sporting enthusiasts throughout my career it is a true privilege to mention the name Westley Richards, and I look forward to bringing my distinct expertise honed over the years with similar spirited businesses – those that are family-owned, steeped in heritage and with unparalleled quality and hand craftsmanship.

In the first few months here I have been getting to know all the many wonderful and awe-inspiring parts of the company and its impressive premises in Birmingham. By way of its exceptional gunmakers, engravers, leather workers, production & sales teams, brand & photographic departments and senior management.

Those of you who have had the privilege to visit the Pritchett Street factory will first enter into our flagship store, a showroom that far surpasses any selling environment I have visited in Mayfair. Inside, a constant selection of Westley Richards British country clothing, smart travel bags and fine leather goods are on display alongside our selected partner brands, catering for English shoots, Safaris and adventurous travellers alike.



Past the gun room, housing clients recent bespoke creations, one takes the stairs to the first floor, home to the gun factory. There a hive of activity takes place where bench-trained gunmakers are in full flow, each at different points of the gunmaking process. Having studied and begun my career in product engineering this was a particular delight for me as many familiar machines, tools and paraphernalia were in attendance. One area of handcraft that really struck me came in the stocking room, where I witnessed some checkering being applied. This I could tell immediately, required such accuracy and dexterity from our makers, as any mistakes would be critical.

Side by side with the gun factory sits our leather department, this is rare amongst our major competitors who often manufacture their leather goods outside of the UK. English made leather is second to none, the country’s traditional skills and styles lend to an extremely high quality product, with endurance, a trait proudly synonymous with the Westley Richards name.




And finally, to the second and uppermost floor. For those dedicated readers amongst you will know, this is The Apartment. A beautifully designed interior space resplendent with Westley Richards ephemera, trophies, literature, photographs, artworks and artefacts. Collected and assembled by Simon Clode during his transformation of the business to what we know today. This remarkable place has such visual, textural and historical appeal even the most esteemed of our clients are stopped in their tracks on entry, and has often delighted them for many an hour on their visits.

In my short time here it is evident that there is an unbelievable depth of heritage and character around the company that must be carefully nurtured, as has been by those many important figures past and present. With this front of mind I, along with the rest of the team, very much look forward positively, distinctively and with great expectation into the bright and exciting future ahead.

On that note, I leave you for now with our recent wordsmithing of the future facing Westley Richards vision that first featured in the inaugural winter retail catalogue – Collections 2020.

“Established upon a heritage of wild adventure, Westley Richards has long been regarded as one of the finest gun and rifle makers the world has ever seen. At the side of generations of audacious huntsmen, we proudly handcraft history’s most beautiful and prized art guns, leather goods and sporting attire, taken on journeys like no other.

Our independent spirit has cultivated an unparalleled culture of innovation, artistry and excellence for well over 200 years, commanding enviable respect from our peers and continuously lionised by true characters of the outdoors.

As the leading light of England’s original Gun Quarter, Westley Richards are honoured to be part of Birmingham’s illustrious past and modern renaissance.”

 

New Bournbrook Travel Bag Collection

It is with great excitement that we launch our new town and country travel bag collection, under the moniker, Bournbrook. As you all will be aware the name holds a very special place in the history of Westley Richards and its best gunmaking.

Following the success of our Anson & Deeley Boxlock action, still referenced in modern sporting shotgun and rifles today, Westley Richards upgraded to a purpose built premises in Bournbrook, Birmingham in 1894. Described as an elegant factory, both ‘useful’ and ‘ornamental’ – it was intended to accommodate more rationally the different departments of gunmaking in one place. Designed by local C.E Bateman, a celebrated architect associated with the prevailing Arts and Crafts movement of the era and the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft.

The company remained in Bournbrook for over 110 years until 2008 where a planned move to the city’s historic Gun Quarter gave the opportunity to further house the gun and burgeoning leather factories under a single roof alongside a new flagship retail space.

Leather making is a big part of the future for Westley Richards and unlike our key competitors we make all our leather goods in house side by side with the gun making. 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.

The Bournbrook Collection is greatly inspired by both the checkering our master gunsmiths carefully handcraft onto our gun stocking, and key details seen in our traditional gun cases. An ode to the master engraver Paul Lantuch is on display with an exclusive lining design. Each design is available in our signature range of tanned leather, buffalo hide and strong canvas combinations.

Bournbrook 48hr bag

A refined 48hr travel bag for those charming weekend breaks away. Whether heading to your favoured shooting lodge or simply a quiet place for some R & R, this smartly designed weekender has all the functionality you require, including secure compartments inside and out and a collapsible shoe section. Comes with a suitcase slip, fountain pen holders, bellows pockets and a deluxe leather adjustable strap.

Prices begin at £1495.

Bournbrook briefcase

A soft briefcase created with the commuter in mind, travelling between their fine country home to meetings in town. Thoughtfully designed with secure compartments for laptops, devices and documents. Comes with a suitcase slip, fountain pen holders, bellows pockets and a deluxe leather adjustable strap.

Prices begin at £1095

Bournbrook wash bag

The Bournbrook Wash Bag is your perfect travelling partner. Sports a large open interior with a robust matching handle and a secure external pocket for extra storage.

Prices begin at £265

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