Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs

Richard Michell
2 July 1863

Volume 10, page 332, sitting number 13,698.

[Identified as ‘Richard Michell’ in the Silvy daybooks, this is probably the self-made entrepreneur Richard Michell.]

Richard Michell was born at Chichester in Sussex in or about 1812.

In 1839 he married Eleanor Smyth, daughter of Simon Smyth of Badingham, Suffolk. When the census was taken in 1841, the couple were living in Oxford Street, London. Richard gave his profession as ‘Laceman,’ which was someone who dealt in lace.

In 1851 he was an ‘Artificial Florist.’ He and his family were living at 93 and 94 Oxford Street, London, presumably ‘above the shop.’ Besides Richard and Eleanor, the household included one son, four daughters, two nieces, a visitor, a governess, a housekeeper, four female servants, a porter, four shopwomen and a milliner. His son, aged 7, was named Richard Cobden Michell, which gives a fairly good indication of his parents’ political leanings.

Several sources indicate that in the 1860s the family were living at 2 Ladbroke Square, Notting Hill Gate.

By 1871 Richard had become a ‘Landowner receiving income from houses & dividends & rents.’ Ten years later in 1881 he gave ‘Rents and dividends’ as his source of income and in 1891 he was ‘Living on [his] means.’ Now a widower, Richard was at 3 Kensington Park Gardens with two unmarried daughters, a butler, a cook, a housemaid and a parlourmaid.

Richard Michell died, aged 87, on 14 April 1899 at 3 Kensington Park Gardens, London. He left an estate valued at £242,033, which would have been a sizeable fortune for a member of the aristocracy or landed gentry but for someone who began his career as a shopkeeper is a truly astonishing figure.

code: cs1574
Richard Michell, Michell, Camille Silvy, Silvy