Praed, William

SUBJECT AREA: Canals
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b. 24 June 1747 Trevethoe, Leland, St Ives, Cornwall, England
d. 9 October 1833 Trevethoe, Leland, St Ives, Cornwall, England
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English banker and Member of Parliament.
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Born into a wealthy Cornish family, he was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford. He was elected Member of Parliament for St Ives in 1774, but it was alleged that his father, who was a banker, had acted as agent for both his son and Drummond, the other candidate for the same party, in the course of which he advanced money to voters "on their notes payable with interest to the bank of Truro (Praed's bank)" but with the understanding that repayment would not be demanded from those who had voted for Praed and Drummond. Praed's election was therefore declared void on 8 May 1775. He was re-elected in 1780, by which time St Ives was virtually a Praed family monopoly. He served in successive Parliaments until 1806 and then represented Banbury until 1808. Meanwhile, in 1779 he had become a partner in his father's Truro bank, c. 1801 founded the London bank of Praed \& Co. at 189 Fleet Street.
While in Parliament, he was instrumental in obtaining and carrying into effect the Bill for the Grand Junction Canal from Braunston to London. He was elected Chairman of the company formed for constructing the canal and proved an excellent choice, serving the company faithfully for nearly thirty years until his resignation in 1821. Upon his marriage to Elizabeth Tyringham in 1778 he made his home at Tyringham Hall in Buckinghamshire and so was very much in the Grand Junction Canal Company's area. London's Praed Street, in which Paddington Station stands, is named in his honour and the canal basin is at the rear of this street. His monument in Tyringham Church bears a relief illustrating a pair of lock gates and a canal boat.
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Further Reading
Alan H.Faulkner, 1972, The Grand Junction Canal, Newton Abbot: David \& Charles. L.S.Presnell, 1956, Country Banking in the Industrial Revolution, Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 295–6.
G.C.Boase and W.P.Courtney, 1874, Biblio-theca Cornubiensis, Vol. II, London: Longmans, p. 524.
JHB

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