He had Courage and Kindness- James ‘Dick’Richards 1872-1965

James ‘Dick’ Richards was a Jamaican born personality. He lived in the parish of St. Elizabeth Jamaica. Losing his parents at an early age he had to rely on his own devises to make his way through life. In 1887, in his early teens he left home to find work in Kingston, Jamaica. He traveled for four days and reached his destination in Kingston, there he found work in a bakery, but this required him to work day and night. He enlisted in the West India Regiment in 1890 which was a division of the British Army. A few years later he was drafted to West Africa to fight in the Ashanti War. In 1897 he went to London with the regiment to take part in Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. He was soon shipped out with his unit in 1898 to South Africa to fight in the Boer War spending only six weeks there before being transferred to St. Helen, in the South Atlantic . He served in Sierra Leone in 1901 before being drafted to Bermuda with his unit on 10th January where he was discharged a few  months later. James needed to work and soon found a job in a bakery with the Bermuda Royal Engineers, at Prospect in Devonshire. From his work ethic he was soon promoted to manager of the Canteen at Casemates in Dockyard he held that job for several years before moving on in life. By 1907 he met and married the love of his life Jane Victoria Smith from Montserrat. She was as ambitious as her husband and encouraged him to go into business for himself. James Dick Richards was a savvy business man and opened several other businesses. In 1981 after purchasing property on Reid Street East he built the Canadian Hotel, becoming the first man of colour in Bermuda to own a hotel licence. He built the hotel in stages and completed the first section in 1921.He continued to purchase property and became one of the largest landowners on Reid Street East and about the Island.  One  would say the hotel was a very interesting entertaining place to stay.  James ‘Dick”Richards did not hesitate to share  his good fortune  with others. Supporting Schools with Scholarships, (Berkeley Institute) churches,(St.Paul AME.) homes for the homeless(Salvation Army). He readily gave to charities both here in Bermuda and his Native Jamaica. He enjoyed sports among them cricket  and in 1939 brought the first West Indies Cricket team to Bermuda with support of several notable friends. To date the sport of billiards is played around the Island clubs for the Dick Richards Trophy. The beautiful Canadian Hotel with its bold crafted Lion which sat above the roof plate  was sold in 1984.  No matter his status or stature James ‘Dick’ Richards will always be a house hold name for few will forget his kindness. In the eyes of many he was their hero, a life saver. Whatever honours are bestowed in his name either here in his adopted home of Bermuda or in the place of his birth Black River they will be well deserved. James’Dick’ Richards was not only a man with good business sense but a good heart and he passed doing what he loved best sharing his time with friends at his most beloved and magnificent establishment ‘The Canadian Hotel”. Will history made by James ‘Dick’Richards be history forgotten? Only time will tell.