Riches & Watts

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Thomas Watts (d.1834) established the Rose Lane Foundry in 1829. James Watts (son) took over business after his death.

1841 Census
James Watts, engineer, (35-39), wife Rebecca (35-39), sons William (15-20), Charles 12, Alfred 7, Frederick 5mo. Living in St. Faith's Lane.

Trading as James Watts & Co 1843. Partners Robert Thompson & Robert Wortley. Partnership dissolved Jan 1846.

1851 Census
James Watts, engineer, iron & brass founder employing 6 men, 46, wife Rebecca 46, sons Alfred E 17, Frederick A 10, daughters Rebecca Victoria 8, Jane Ellen 5, Harriet L 2, also a granddaughter living with him. Living at 5 Victoria Terrace, St. Peter Permountergate.

Charles James Watts, journeyman engineer 23, wife Clementine 23, living at 13 St. Anns St. St. Peter Permountergate.

Watts Brothers at Rose Lane in 1854 trade directory, Charles James Watts living in Synagogue St. at this time. Moved to Duke's Palace Iron Works c1854.

Richard Robert Riches joined firm about this time and name changed to Riches & Watts. He was born at Morley c.1824 and the 1851 Census shows him as a farmer of 40 acres employing 24 labourers, living at Tunstead, Norfolk.

By 1854 a Mr. Buck had joined the firm, which was now known as Riches, Watts and Buck. Nothing further is known of him. He had left the firm by 1857 when Thomas Howard joined the firm, which was now known as Watts, Riches and Howard. Joseph Howard had been for many years in the employ of Messrs. John Penn & Sons, of Greenwich, Kent. Name of firm changed to Howard, Riches & Watts by 1858. Joseph Howard left firm between July 1860 and January 1861. Name reverted to Riches & Watts.

In 1860, Riches and Watts supplied one of their Patent American Grist Mills to George Bagshaw of Pockthorpe towermill. His testimonial reads:-
Gentlemen, - In reply to you enquiry, I beg to say that the American Grist Mill you supplied me with in 1860, is I consider, an exceedingly simple and efficient machine; it has been, during the past season, especially invaluable to me in grinding barley, &c., for fattening geese, upwards of 10,000 geese, of which I supplied to the London markets at Christmas; in this case I had to depend almost entirely on your American Mill, working it almost day and night for weeks, grinding from 500 to 600 coombs per week. I have a high opinion of its merits, seeing the work it has done with so little repair.

An 8 h.p. engine was supplied to the Turner family at East Ruston towermill

1861 Census
Richard R Riches, engineers merchant 38, living in Gildengate St. St. George's Colegate.

Richard R Riches was bankrupt in 1867. Riches & Watts listed as millwrights for first time in 1868. Also R. R. Riches & Co., Corn Millers, Pitt St. James Watts listed as an engineer/machinist/millwright in Bloomsbury Place, Norwich. Charles James Watts bankrupt in 1868.

Albert William Watts, aged 4y 9m died on 26th June 1868. He was the son of Charles James Watts.

Elizabeth Lemon Watts, eldest daughter of Charles James Watts was married to Albert Peter Barker, son of A. Barker Esq, of Little Bentley, Essex at St. Peter Permountergate Church on 28th July 1870.

Clementina Watts died on the 10th December 1870.

1871 Census
Richard Robert Riches engineer, 45. Son Robert Beverley 3. Living at Church St., St. Simon & St. Judes.
Charles (James -not given) Watts, manufacturer of steam engines, 43. Sons Charles 14, Frank 10, Harry 9 and daughter Clementina 6. Living in Cathedral St., St Peter Per Mountergate.

Riches & Watts purchased the freehold of the Duke's Palace Iron Works in 1879 for £3,200.

1881 Census.
Richard R Riches, engineer employing 120 people, deaf. Son Robert B 15. Living in Church St., St. Simon & St. Jude.
Charles James Watts, wife Phoebe 36, son Harry 19 and daughter Clementina 16. Living at 52 Prince of Wales Rd, St. George Tombland.

In 1887 the firm had an office at 147 Queen Victoria St., London. Richard Robert Riches living in Elm Hill. Charles Watts and Charles James Watts living in Prince of Wales Rd.

Riches & Watts became Riches & Co. sometime after 1888. They were not listed in 1900 but in 1904 were listed as Riches & Watts (Now A. Pank & Son.)

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. By all means telephone 07836 675369 or

All historical material within this page © Michael Roots
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