James Brown Richardson

01 September 1837, Campbeltown - 09 November 1902, Stirling

Initially, Richardson wanted to become a grocer but soon changed direction when he took employment with George Younger and Sons, brewers, as a traveller. he remained with this firm for 22 years before joining James Harvey and Co., blenders, in Paisley. Such was his value to this company that he was soon taken on as a partner and when three other partners died and one retired, Richardson became the sole partner in an organisation that was one of the largest of its kind in the West of Scotland. In 1895 he floated it into a limited liability company, retaining the controlling interest for himself, and was appointed chairman and managing director.

Having chosen to make Stirling his home some time previously (he lived there for about 28 years and was made a J.P.), that town was to be the recipient of many a charitable gesture. Paisley, because of Richardson's business connections, also benefited.

Richardson's philanthropy knew no bounds, and his generosity was directed towards not only Stirling town but a wide range of clubs and societies, arts and musical associations, flower clubs, curling, football, cricket and bowling. His death on 9 November 1902 came as a great shock to all who had been touched by his kindness.

Richardson never learned chess himself, but became involved in the game by his donation of the Robert Macqueen Richardson Trophy to Stirling Chess Club in 1896. This was in memory of his son, who had been a member of the club for only three months before his death from typhoid fever in 1894, aged 18.

An ornately designed tribute to J.B. Richardson, presented to him in April 1897 in thanks for his generosity towards the Stirling Chess Club. It shows images of Mr Richardson and his son, Robert McQueen Richardson, as well as the trophy presented to Stirling Chess Club. The cup bears the inscription "Robert McQueen Richardson Memorial Trophy," and on the base is engraved:- "Presented by his father to the Stirling Chess Club-Pitgorno House, 9th January, 1896."

The trophy was designed from suggestions by the donor, and manufactured by R. Hodd & Son, of London, silversmiths to Her Majesty the Queen.

In 1897, soon after the Paisley Chess Club was formed, he presented a silver inkstand to the club, to be competed for by the members in a tournament.

In 1898 he donated the Richardson Cup to the Scottish Chess Association. The first competition for the senior Scottish clubs was held in in season 1898-99. It was won by Dundee.

Richardson Cup

Based on an article in Scottish Chess No. 161, April 1999, p 16.
George A. Clarke of Stirling CC, who assisted with research at the time.
Stirling Observer
Paisley and Renfrewshire Gazette, Saturday, 29 February 1896, p. 4; 18 December 1897, p. 2.
Edinburgh Evening News, 2 November 1898, p. 4.

Alan McGowan
Historian, Chess Scotland

Updated - 25/08/2022