Praeds & Co. was formed in London in 1802. Its principal partners were William Praed and John Eliot, 1st Earl of St Germains. The Praeds were already a prominent banking family in the West Country, having established The Cornish Bank in 1771.
The bank’s first premises, at 189 Fleet Street, were designed by the renowned architect, Sir John Soane.
Links to Cornwall
The bank's Cornish links proved invaluable in its infancy. Praeds & Co. acted as London agents for The Cornish Bank, as well as a number of other country banks in the south and south-west of England. Much of its early business came through the sale of securities. The majority of these purchasers were also listed as stockholders in The Cornish Bank. Customers ranged from miners to hatters, and bakers to gamekeepers.
In the latter half of the 19th century, a significant part of the bank's business was under threat. It had long acted as London agent to country banks, but many of these were now employing the larger joint-stock banks instead. Praeds found it increasingly difficult to compete. In 1891, it accepted a purchase offer from Lloyds. Charles Praed, the principal partner at the time, sat on the board of Lloyds until his death in 1895.