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
Viscount Powerscourt. His great uncle was
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`
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
rose named after
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
He invented the Boddy-Finch
life jacket as supplied to
the liner Queen Mary and used worldwide until after World War II.
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,
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
was awarded the Publishers Publicity Circle Silver Trophy for promotion of Spike
He finally left London in 1974 to become Publicity
Director of David & Charles back in Devon. Webb & Bower
1975 Richard Webb co-founded Webb & Bower, Publishers in Exeter,
here to read more.
Between 1976 and 1992, Webb
& Bower published 333 titles including 24 national bestsellers and one international
A selection of Webb & Bower books are shown below.
& Bower received 14 publishing awards for design, typography and production.
Webb & Bower had 13 books or series that sold over 100,000 copies
To see the Webb & Bower Complete Catalogue of 333 titles
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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
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
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
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
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.
2000 The Chronicles of Dartmouth by Don Collinson was published which won
the Devon Book of the Year Award.
local titles followed including Further up the River and First across
the Line by Dartmouth poet Kevin Pyne.
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 www.tormark.co.uk
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
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
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.
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.
Copyright 2017 Valerie Wills
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