1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Burbidge, Sir Richard

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BURBIDGE, SIR RICHARD, 1st Bart. (1847-1917), English merchant, was born in Wiltshire March 2 1847. He was educated at Devizes and Melksham and at the age of 13 was apprenticed to a provision merchant in Oxford St., London, afterwards starting in business as a provision merchant at the age of 19. Fourteen years later he became general superintendent of the Army and Navy Auxiliary Stores. In 1882 he was appointed general manager of Whiteley's, Westbourne Grove, and in 1891 entered the service of Harrods, Brompton Road, of which he was afterwards managing director. By 1916 he had increased its profits from £16,000 to over £200,000, and it had become one of the largest of the London stores. He had also done a good deal to ensure shorter working hours for shop assistants. Mr. Burbidge was the “private citizen” who anonymously presented about £30,000 to the fund for acquiring the Crystal Palace for the public in 1913. During the World War he was responsible for the building and fitting up of two hospitals in Belgium and was a member of many Government committees, including the advisory committee of the Ministry of Munitions and the committee of inquiry into the Royal Aircraft workings, of which he was chairman. He was created a baronet in 1916. He died in London May 31 1917, being succeeded as second baronet by his son R. Woodman Burbidge (b. 1872), who in 1921 became chairman of Harrods.

See Mrs. Stuart Menzies, Modern Men of Mark (1920).