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George Tilghman Richards

(1883 - 1960)

George Tilghman Richards was born on 18 August 1883 in Altrincham, Cheshire, the only son of George William Richards from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and Amy Florence Ford-Smith. He first worked for Rolls-Royce as a draughtsman but eventually left and set up business as a consulting engineer.

G. J. A. Kitchen’s patents for a wing-form in which the lifting surfaces were circular in plan, with a circular piece cut out of the centre so as to leave a wing of annular shape were purchased in 1911 by Cedric Lee and he engaged Richards to put the ideas into practical workable shape. Over the next three years, three aircraft of this configuration were built with limited success, and with the outbreak of war further experimental work was abandoned and Lee and Richard’s partnership ended.

Richards was commissioned into the R.N.V.R. in autumn 1914 and posted as the Admiralty representative to William Beardmore and Co., Ltd, of Dalmuir, Dumbartonshire. He was allowed to resign his commission to head up Beardmore’s design office when it was created in January 1916. Several prototypes were produced under his leadership, but only the Sopwith Pup derived W.B.III went into production.

1920 began well for Richards, elected F.R.Ae.S in March and later elected M.I.Ae.E. However, in May the Aircraft Department of William Beardmore was closed down. New employment was not immediate, but by June 1921 Richards had become General Manager at Martinsyde Aircraft at Woking. Unfortunately, that company was already in a difficult situation and by October 1921 a new Receiver was appointed. Richards was put in charge of reconstruction, but with the further decline in the company’s fortunes, by the end of 1922 Richards had severed his connection with Martinsyde.

Although Richards tried to get further employment in the aircraft industry, this was not to be. He spent some time attempting to improve the typewriter before eventually going to the Science Museum in 1929, cataloguing the museums aero-engine collection and becoming their scientific lecturer.

George Tilghman Richards, F.R.Ae.S., M.I.M.E retired from the Science Museum in 1954 and died on 22 June 1960 in Hove, Sussex.

Biography References

  1. Beardmore Aviation 1913-1930, Charles MacKay (A. MacKay, 2012)
  2. Flight 10 April 1924
  3. Flight 23 April 1954
  4. Flight 1 July 1960

V1.4.0 Created by Roger Moss. Last updated July 2019