The firm was established in 1843 at 26 1/2 Seckforde Street, Clerkenwell by George John Richards (c. 1817 - 1876), son of William Richards (silversmith, Citizen and Goldsmith).
George John Richards obtained his freedom of the Goldsmiths' Company by Patrimony in 1839 and entered his first mark on 16 May 1844. In 1850, he moved to 35 Whiskin Street and in 1853 to 20 Red Lion Street, Clerkenwell.
In 1857, George J. Richards entered in partnership with Edward Charles Brown registering a conjoined mark on 13 July 1857. Edward C. Brown was an apprentice (1845) of George J. Richards who obtained his freedom by Service in 1852. Another apprentice was William Comyns (1849) who obtained his freedom in 1856. George J. Richards retired in 1867 and Edward Charles Brown continued the activity trading as Richards & Brown. Edward C. Brown retired in 1882 and the activity was continued by John William Johnson and Alfred Springthorpe.
The new partners entered their mark in 1882 maintaining the address of 20 Red Lion Street, Clerkenwell, where the firm continued to operate as John William Johnson (after the retirement of Alfred Springthorpe: 1885), John Johnson and Matthew White (1886) and Johnson & White (after the retirement of John Johnson: 1887 - 1889).
Other relatives of George John Richards obtained their freedom by Patrimony. They were William Henry Richards (brother) in 1837, Charles Edwin Richards (brother) in 1847, Matthew Wilks Richards (son) in 1877. Also the sons of Edward Charles Brown obtained their freedom by Patrimony in 1898. They were Edward Charles Brown and Spencer Douglas Brown.