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British Industrial History

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John Meeson Parsons

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John Meeson Parsons (1798-1870)

1839 John Meeson Parsons of Raymond Buildings, Gray's inn, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1871 Obituary [2]

MR. JOHN MEESON PARSONS was the youngest son of Thomas Parsons, of Newport, Salop, where he was born on the 27th of October, 1798.

He was educated first by the Rev. Richard Thurstfield, of Pattingham; secondly, by the Rev. Francis Blick, of Tamworth ; and was for a short time in residence at the University of Oxford ; but from too hard reading was seized with a violent inflammation of the eyes, which obliged him to give up all study.

He then settled in London, and after some time became a member of the Stock Exchange.

He very early in his London career took an interest in railways, was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 5th of February, 1839, and on the 9th of February, 1843, became a director of the London and Brighton Company, of which he was elected chairman on the 19th of the following June.

In this office he was succeeded by Mr. Pascoe Grenfell on the 11th of April, 1844, and ceased to be director of the company on the 21st of August, 1848.

He was also a director of the Shropshire Union railways from 1845 to 1849. For many years he resided at 6, Raymond Buildings, and spent much of his time in collecting pictures and works of art. He had amassed at the time of his death a valuable collection of pictures, principally of the German and Dutch schools, and of water-colour drawings by English artists.

Having left by his will a power of choice to the directors of the National Gallery, they selected three-one an oil painting, “Fishing Boats in a Breeze off the Coast,” by J. M. W. Turner, R.A., and two paintings by P. I. Clays, of Brussels. Nearly a hundred oil pictures, and about fifty water-colour drawings were left by him to the South Kensington Museum, where they are distinguished as the Parsons bequest, and a Dumber of fine prints to the British Museum.

Mr. Parsons married a daughter of Mr. John Mayhew, but was soon left a widower with an only daughter, now the wife of Sir Charles W. A. Oakeley, Bart.

Mr. Parsons removed from Raymond Buildings in November, 1869, to 45 Russell Square, and died there on the 26th of March, 1870.

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