William Richards was the brother of the English gunmaker W. Richards of 27 Old Hall Street, Liverpool. He migrated to Melbourne around 1854 and in the following year had a business at 54 Queen Street, Melbourne. By 1860 the business had moved to 105 Bourke Street East, and then to Elizabeth Street by 1870.
When he died in about 1884, the business was carried on at 61 Elizabeth Street by his nephew H. Richards, who was the son of the English gunmaker W. Richards. In about 1887 the business was bought out by J. Wragg & Sons, cutlery manufacturers of Sheffield England, and moved to 15 Bourke Street West Melbourne.