Richard Webb Publisher - Dartmouth Devon
Richard Webb


Richard Webb was born in 1943 and is the third generation of his family to live in Dartmouth, Devon.

He then lived abroad in Burma and Singapore and Fontainebleau, France (HQ of NATO at that time) until his father who was in the Royal Signals retired back to Dartmouth.

Lt Colonel Richard Webb was a co-founder of the Dartmouth & Kingswear Society and President of the Dartmouth St. John Ambulance and an Officer Brother of the Order of St.John. His grandmother Hon. Isabella Fiennes was the daughter of 16th Baron Saye and Sele and grand-daughter of 4th Viscount Powerscourt. His great uncle was
Edward Whymper, the first person to climb the Matterhorn.

His mother Mrs Iris Webb was the founder of the Dartmouth Flower Club and the first President of the Old Dartmothians` Ladies Section. She was the President of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies and a RHS Gold Medallist. She also edited the best-selling book The Complete Guide to Flower & Foliage Arrangement. She had a floribunda rose named after her.


His grandfather Finch Portman Ingram was a well-known local Dartmouth entrepreneur and benefactor who donated the Italian marble statue `Piscatorie` to the town where it can still be seen in the Royal Avenue Gardens. He also gave the Warfleet Quay and kilns to Dartmouth Corporation for the enjoyment of future generations.

He invented the Boddy-Finch life jacket as supplied to the liner Queen Mary and used worldwide until after World War II.

Richard Webb was educated at Oakley Hall, Cirencester and Marlborough College and, although he gained a Royal Naval Scholarship to BRNC, Dartmouth, he was also awarded a special prize for literary criticism and decided on a career in publishing in London which began in 1961.

Previously during school holidays he worked as a bookshop assistant for Christopher Milne at The Harbour Bookshop, Dartmouth.

He studied further at the City Literary Institute and the London College of Printing (now the London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London).

Richard Webb worked as a publishing trainee at Harrap Books, Hulton Press, Fleet Street (PICTURE POST, EAGLE, GIRL), and the British Medical Association Publishing Division (FAMILY DOCTOR).

His first publication in 1965 was GRAND PRIX DRIVERS INTERNATIONAL published by the Tolgate Press which he edited and designed with George W. Arthur.

He was appointed Manager of the Book Division of Conde Nast Publications (VOGUE and HOUSE & GARDEN) publishing amongst other books Goodbye, Baby & Amen by David Bailey

He then became Publicity Director of Michael Joseph Publishers and promoted the work of James Baldwin, H.E. Bates, Dick Francis, James Herriot, John Masters, Derek Tangye, Leslie Thomas and Harold Wilson amongst many others.

He was awarded the Publishers Publicity Circle Silver Trophy for promotion of Spike Milligan`s autobiography.

He finally left London in 1974 to become Publicity Director of David & Charles back in Devon.

Webb & Bower Webb & Bower
In 1975 Richard Webb co-founded Webb & Bower, Publishers in Exeter, click here to read more.

Between 1976 and 1992, Webb & Bower published 333 titles including 24 national bestsellers and one international bestseller.

A selection of Webb & Bower books are shown below.

Webb & Bower received 14 publishing awards for design, typography and production.

Webb & Bower had 13 books or series that sold over 100,000 copies worldwide.

To see the Webb & Bower Complete Catalogue of 333 titles click here

The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady
The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden was published by Webb & Bower/Michael Joseph in 1977 and received a Gold Plaque for the first million copies sold.

The book has now sold over three million copies in 13 languages.

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady Multi-Touch e-book digital edition was released on 22 January 2013 by RosettaBooks, New York and is available exclusively on the iBookstore by clicking here.

It achieved a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest-running No.1 bestseller.

Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady has also become an international brand name with a wide range of merchandise produced.

Marks & Spencer are one of the main licensees marketing an annual Edwardian Lady stationery collection.

Country Diary is administered and licenced by the international merchandise agents the Copyrights Group

Richard Webb, Publisher

  • After marrying Gilly (who was the co-owner of the Good Food Guide restaurant Billy Budd`s Bistro of Dartmouth in 1992, Richard Webb then moved his office from Exeter to Dartmouth in 1994. He then started a publishing consultancy and later branched out into local publishing.

  • In 2000 The Chronicles of Dartmouth by Don Collinson was published which won the Devon Book of the Year Award.

  • Other local titles followed including Further up the River and First across the Line by Dartmouth poet Kevin Pyne.

  • In 2005 Britannia Royal Naval College 1905-2005 by Dr Jane Harrold and Dr Richard Porter was published to mark the Centenary of BRNC, Dartmouth and won the Sir Robert Craven Trophy for its contribution to naval history
  • At Hallowe`en 2006 Dartmouth Ghosts & Mysteries by Ken Taylor was published in conjunction with a photographic exhibition by Valerie Wills at The Flavel, Dartmouth.

  • In 2006 the Centenary edition of Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady – originally compiled by Edith Holden in 1906 – was published together with a new range of Country Diary craft titles.

  • In 2007 Richard Webb reprinted Kevin Pyne`s Further up the River for the fourth time and published a new updated edition of the popular Dartmouth and its Neighbours: A History of the Port and its People by Ray Freeman.

  • Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth: An Illustrated History was re-titled and reprinted with an new material on the College`s Centenary celebrations.

  • In 2008 two new titles John Hawley and Reflections of Dartmouth were published and Tor Mark were appointed as distributors. See

  • In 2009 Reflections of Dartmouth was reprinted after its very successful publication. It was a Western Morning News No1 bestseller and received very favourable reviews

  • In 2010 photographic, editorial and design work took place on Nigel Evans` sequel Reflections of the South Hams which was published in July 2011 with a Foreword by Jonathan Dimbleby

  • In September 2011 Richard Webb celebrated 50 years in publishing (4th September 1961)

  • At the end of September 2011 the Harbour Bookshop, Dartmouth sadly closed after having sold nearly 10,000 copies of Richard Webb`s books. White Sails Gallery in Dartmouth is now the main stockist of Richard Webb’s books which are also available locally at the Community Bookshop, the National Trust Shop and the Tourist Information Centre.

  • In October 2011 Taste of Dartmouth - a cookbook was published in association with Dartmouth Caring to help raise funds for this local charity

  • In April 2012 volume 2 of the Chronicles of Dartmouth 1955-2010 by Phil Scoble with a Foreword by Simon Drew was published with great acclaim. The third edition of the Britannia Royal Naval College – An Illustrated History was also released in the Queen’s Jubilee Year.

  • Dartmouth’s art, beauty and history all featured in a lavishly illustrated new book: Dartmouth – An Enchanted Place by Joslin Fiennes which was published in August 2013 by the Antique Collectors’ Club in association with Richard Webb.

  • In April 2014 to celebrate The Sunday Times Bestsellers list's 40th anniversary, the top bestselling books since the list began was announced. The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady (published by Webb & Bower/Michael Joseph) was revealed as being the 4th bestselling title over the last 40 years.
  • In May 2014 By the Dart magazine published an interview with Richard Webb to mark his retirement from publishing after 52 years and it can be seen in full by clicking here.

  • In early 2015 Richard Webb was persuaded to come out of retirement to publish a beautifully illustrated journal that had been discovered. The book was My Devonshire Year: An Illustrated Journal of the Jurassic Coast & Countryside by Margaret I. Pogson with publication in July 2015.

  • On 31st March 2017, aged 73, Richard Webb finally retired from publishing – a 55 year career that had started in London on 4th September 1961.

  • On 25th February 2017 Richard & Gilly celebrated their Silver Wedding anniversary having been married in Gibraltar in 1992.

    If you think the story’s done, you turn the page and another’s begun...!
Richard & Gilly
© Copyright 2017 Valerie Wills

Richard Webb, Publisher
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