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British Industrial History

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Lancelot Wilfred Pratt

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Lancelot Wilfred Pratt (1880-1922) of Hollick and Pratt

1880 Born Mildenhall West Row, Suffolk, the son of James Pratt, a Farmer of 900 acres, and his wife Sarah

1911 Living at Highcliffe, Waverley Road, Kenilworth: Lancelot Wilfred Pratt (age 30 born West Row, Suffolk), Motor Carriage Work Manufacturer - Employer. with his wife Jolanda Ellen Pratt (age 29 born Coventry) and their two daughters Hebe Pratt (age 3 born Coventry) and Mildred Seabes Pratt (age 2 months born Kenilworth). One servant.[1]

1924 April 19th. Died.

1924 August. Will. 'Mr Lancelot Wilfred Pratt, of Bishopton, Stratford-on-Avon, and late of Kenilworth, managing director of Messrs Hollick & Pratt Ltd., of Coventry, left estate of the gross value of £105,839. with net personally £92,287. He left £500 each William Webster, works manager, and Walter Beaumont, chief designing body maker, an expression of regard for them, and in recognition of the assistance they have rendered in building up the business Hollick & Pratt Ltd...'[2]

1924 Obituary.[3]

The passing of Mr. Launcelot W. Pratt, of Bishopton, near Stratford-on-Avon, and recently and for nearly 20 years a resident of Kenilworth, will occasion more than usual regret. Quiet and unassuming in manner, Mr. Pratt possessed a keenly developed business mind, quick perception, and capability of seeing ahead that led him in a comparatively few years to high position in the world. He possessed also that trait which makes for success — unfailing judgment in his choice of his lieutenants, and the personality that kept them true him. This trait exhibited also in his private life, making and holding numerous friends with his genial, true-hearted manner.

He was only 43 years of age, and a career of the greatest promise has been prematurely cut short and in circumstances that were exceptionally sad. In indifferent health over the last few years, he yet mastered the many difficulties encountered in building the immense business which his had become, by sheer determination and will power when others would have been laid aside. When the terrible malady from which he died revealed itself a month or two ago and he knew the end was near, then was shown the indomitable spirit that raised Mr Pratt above the hulk of his fellows. Those who knew the fortitude andi the heroism with which he met his end only had confirmed their already high opinion of this quiet unassuming gentleman and Englishman. His quizzical, kindly and ever-ready smile will be much missed.

As to his business career, was for nearly twenty years the Managing Director of Messrs Hollick & Pratt, motor body builders of Coventry, and raised that firm from insignificance to leading rank in the country. Lately it had turning out more than 1,000 bodies per week. Mr. Pratt had become Deputy Governing Director of the vast motor manufacturing firm of Morris, Oxford, with which his own business had been amalgamated.

As practical motor driver he early in business found and remedied defects in car bodies and with a natural artistic taste his designs were distinctive and ever-growing in demand.

In 1913 he visited America with Mr. Morris of Morris-Oxford car fame and studied American mass production methods, and after the War (the works were of course on War work) had soon settled down to scientific and very successful mass production.

Came the fire of two years ago which destroyed his Coventry works and again revealed the man. Out of the blazing factory Mr.Pratt and his men rescued three car bodies, and in a neighbouring field, with tools borrowed from adjoining works were straightaway making jigs for further bodies, and on the same day orders were were placed for a new factory.

Mr. Pratt directed the erection and equipment of the motor body workshops at the Oxford works of the company. He had reached indeed, a prominent position, yet very few realised the extent of his operations, for self-advertisement was not in his nature. Despite the time and energy put in to his work he yet had time for his hobbies and was for many years a keen a successful exhibitor of poultry. He was a good shot and lately his hobby had been the running of a model farm at Bishopton. He leaves a widow and three daughters.......

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1911 Census
  2. Leamington Spa Courier - Friday 08 August 1924
  3. Leamington Spa Courier - Friday 25 April 1924