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British Industrial History

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Francis Gordon Pratt

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1913.
1955.

Francis Gordon Pratt (1885-1965), Naval architect and head of Cox and King

1885 February 27th 1885. Born the son of Gustavus Harry Fradelle Pratt (1854-1917) and Fanny Pratt, née Snead (1853-1915). Gustavus Pratt himself was the son of Thomas Pratt and Caroline Sarah Louise Pratt, née Fradelle. Her father was the Franco-English Victorian painter, Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle (1778-1865) whose works can still be found in various museums around the world.

January 1897-April 1902 Pupil at Bradfield College (The Hogs Back Modern Side School). Studied Physics, Chemistry, Practical Engineering and Machine Drawing.

Antony Collieu, the archivist of Bradfield College, wrote in 2003: "Bradfield was officially called the College of St Andrew at Bradfield at its founding in 1850 but, from its inception, always called Bradfield College. With the marked expansion of the school around the turn of the century, Modern Side was a new boarding house built in 1900/1 to house boys who did not want to study the classics as their principal subjects. It was right next door to the school's engineering workshops. The hill at the top of which the house stands is called The Hog's Back. It is now known much more prosaically as House on the Hill D and House on the Hill G having been split into two before the last war."

1902-06 Apprenticeship with two different companies: (1) Mechanical Engineering: Ramage & Ferguson Ltd., Shipbuilders, Marine Engineers and Naval Architects, Leith. (2) Shipbuilding: The Thames Iron Works, Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Ltd, under the late George C. Mackrow who designed and built warships for many different countries.

1903 Address was The Limes, Hampton Wick, Middlesex.

1907-14 Junior partner, Cox & King, Naval Architects and Surveyors, Engineers and Yacht Brokers, Designers and Auctioneers. 5, Suffolk Street, Pall Mall, London. Designed a 165 ft. steam yacht (Winchester 1909) which at the time was the fastest vessel in the world of that size.

1909 Address was Red Roofs, Teddington on Thames, and also 5&6 Suffolk Street, Pall Mall, London SW. He was a member of the Constitutional Club.

1915-17 Manager, Aviation Department, Sunbeam Motor Car Co. Built seaplanes and aeroplanes.

1916 November 0th. Married Ruth Helen Shipway (3/18/1895-1/12/1955). They had two daughters, Sheila Fradelle Pratt and Angela Xarifa Pratt.

1917-41 Sole partner, Cox and King, Naval Architects and Surveyors, Engineers and Yacht Brokers, Designers and Auctioneers, London. Boat building took place in Wivenhoe between 1916 and 1925. Designed and built motor crafts for the Admiralty and the War Office, as well as motor yachts.

1910-39 Deposited a number of patents for hull form and hull construction to attain high speeds. The British Admiralty utilized his inventions on MTB's, PV's and MGB's. Also built racing motor boats with these types of hulls (e.g. Tyreless series; see photo) which he raced in England, France (Monte Carlo) and the United States (for the Harmsworth Cup).

1918 Joined the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA): became a member in 1922.

1922 M.I.N.A., Principal and Naval Arch., etc., Cox and King, London; b. 1885; s. of G. H. F. Pratt. Ed. Bradfield Coll. Training: Bradfield College; Ramage and Ferguson, Ltd., Leith; and The Thames Iron Works, Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Ltd. Junior Partner, Cox and King, Naval Archs., 1907; Principal since 1917; built and managed the Aviation Dept. of Sunbeam Motor Car Co., Ltd., Wolverhampton, /915-17; 1917—Laid down a yard on River Colne at Wivenhoe, Essex, for Cox and King, and designed and built motor craft for the Admiralty, W.O., R.A.F., and French Govt., including boats of special hull form for highest speeds; designed winning boats in Inter. Motor Boat Races, Monte Carlo, 1912-13-14-20. Clubs: Constitutional, Royal Harwich Yacht, etc. Address: io, Orme Court, London, W.2.

During the 1920's, he moved to Copford Place, near Colchester, to be closer to the Wivenhoe shipyard.

1925 The Yachting World & Marine Motor Journal (April 4, 1925, p. 348) presented a piece on him and on his new 550-ton Diesel Yacht under construction for Mr. Howe in Scotland.

1935 Lived at 18 Essex Street, London WC2. He was then designer and manager of Harelda.

1938-39. Designed an experimental torpedo boat, the Tarret, which was built by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson. It used the hull form he patented, was 110 ft long, and could cruise at 20 knots for long distances (see photo).

1941-43 Ship surveyor and Engineer surveyor, The Ministry of War Transport, Sea Transport Division, Berkeley Square House, London, W1. Worked on ships repair at Alexandria and Suez (Egypt) and Massawa (Eritrea). Then as ship surveyor in Glasgow.

After World War II, worked as an architect and draftsman for various firms.

1946 Address was 29 Queen's Gate, London SW7. He then moved to 11, Ossington Street, London W.2.

1948 Address was 10, Hart Close, Rugby, Warwickshire and then at 23, Rugby Road, Dunchurch, Warwickshire.

In the 1950's, he lived in Richmond (Petersham Road).

1965 November 14th. Died. Buried in East Sheen Cemetery, Richmond, England.


See also www.francoisgrosjean.ch

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