BORRADAILE, Richardson (1762-1835), of All Hallows Lane, London; 14 Duke Street, Westminster, Mdx. and Balham, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. 17 Jan. 1762, 6th surv. s. of John Borradaile (d. 1783) of Wigton, Cumb. and Mary, neé Richardson. m. 21 Dec. 1786, Elizabeth, da. of William Cotton of The Priory, Leatherhead, Surr., 8s. (4 d.v.p.) 4da. (1 d.v.p.). d. 18 May 1835.

Offices Held

Dir. E.I. Dock Co. 1811; dep. chairman, Protector Fire Insurance. Co. 1828; chairman, Rock Life Assurance Co. 1830.


Borradaile’s father, a tanner and the owner of a cloth factory at Wigton, was appointed to a position in the customs office at Ravenglass, Cumberland, following the collapse of his business ‘towards the close of his life’. His family had strong maritime connections and two of his sons predeceased him whilst serving on merchant ships of the East India Company. By the mid-1770s his eldest son William (1750-1831) was trading as a hatter from 31 Cannon Street, London, where he was joined by Borradaile, the youngest of the family, and their mother after she was widowed in 1783. The brothers established a thriving partnership, running a hat manufactory and furrier’s business at 34 Fenchurch Street, in addition to the Lanark Twist Mills, Lanarkshire. Their mother died at Gracechurch Street, 14 Jan. 1794, leaving £65 and her estate to Borradaile. Both brothers signed the London merchants’ loyal declaration of 1795. Diversifying into marine insurance and shipping, they became ‘owners of the heaviest ships in the East India Company’, operating the Cumberland, on which Borradaile’s third surviving son and namesake worked as a midshipman before his death in China in 1811, in addition to the ‘Streatham, Inglis and three other East Indiamen, which were to some extent armed’.1 They held numerous appointments with London’s leading commercial companies.

At the 1826 general election Borradaile received an invitation from the independent interest at Newcastle-under-Lyme to stand in opposition to the sitting Members. He had ‘long been serviceable to the borough by taking its staple produce’ of hats, and in the previous year had purchased some of the Newcastle properties auctioned by Lord Stafford as part of his disengagement from local politics. He initially declined, but finding himself ‘uncommonly popular’ sent down his youngest son George (1802-81), who explained that his father was ‘prevented from leaving town on account of an inflammation of the knee’, that he was ‘decidedly opposed’ to Catholic emancipation, and desired ‘such an alteration in the corn laws as shall enable the working classes of this country to eat as cheap bread as those of any other’. On the eve of the poll one of the candidates unexpectedly withdrew, leaving Borradaile to be returned unopposed in absentia. On visiting the constituency four days later, 13 June 1826, he reiterated his hostility to Catholic relief and the corn laws and promised to ‘use his best endeavours to aid the hat trade’.2 Borradaile, who is not known to have spoken in debate, voted against Catholic claims, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828, but presented a favourable Newcastle petition, 18 Feb. 1828. He was in the minorities against removing bankruptcy jurisdiction from the court of chancery, 22 May, and the Penryn election bill, 7 June 1827. He divided against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828. He voted with the Wellington ministry against ordnance reductions, 4 July, and amendments to the corporate funds bill, 10 July 1828. In February 1829 he was described by Planta, the patronage secretary, as ‘opposed to the principle’ of Catholic emancipation but likely to vote in favour of securities if it was carried. He presented a hostile Newcastle petition, 24 Feb., and duly divided against emancipation, 6, 18, 23, 30 Mar. 1829. No other activity has been found for this Parliament.

At the 1830 general election Borradaile, who remained ‘very popular’, offered again, resting on his past conduct and explaining that he was ‘not attached to any party in Parliament, but had acted according to his best judgement and the dictates of his conscience’. After a three-day poll he was returned in first place and ‘renewed his pledges to do all in his power to promote the prosperity of the country and in particular the borough’.3 Ministers listed him as one of their ‘friends’, but he was apparently absent from the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He presented constituency petitions for the abolition of slavery, 13 Dec. 1830, and parliamentary reform, 23 Feb. 1831. He paired against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing dissolution he carried out his previously announced ‘intention of retiring altogether from Parliament, whenever a dissolution may take place’, on account of his ‘advanced age, coupled with uncertain health’.4 The death of his elder brother and partner, 4 Sept. 1831, prompted a restructuring of the family business, into which his eldest son William (1787-1844) and George had followed him as merchants, insurance brokers and patent felt manufacturers trading from 5 Bargeyard, Bucklersbury, London.5

Borradaile died in May 1835 at Balham, Surrey, where he lived with his youngest daughter Sophia (1796-1871). By his will, dated 5 Feb. 1834 and proved under £80,000, he left his seven surviving children legacies of between £1,000 and £3,000 each, with an additional £5,000 to his son Frederick (1798-1876), a prebendary of Lincoln, which were charged on properties in Bedfordshire, and at Tooting, Surrey, and Worthing, Sussex. Sophia retained use of the Balham properties during her lifetime. The trust was administered by his sons and executors William and George, to whom the bulk of his estate eventually passed.6

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Philip Salmon


  • 1. A.F. Borradaile, Sketch of Borradailes of Cumb. (1881), 27-32, 62-68; PROB 11/1113/62; 1119/371; 1240/6; The Times, 16 Jan. 1794.
  • 2. S.M. Hardy and R.C. Baily, ‘Downfall of Gower Interest in Staffs. Boroughs’, Colls. Hist. Staffs. (1950-1), 294-5; Staffs. Advertiser, 10, 17 June 1826.
  • 3. Staffs. Advertiser, 3, 17, 31 July, 7 Aug. 1830.
  • 4. Ibid. 23, 30 Apr. 1831.
  • 5. IR26/1249/628; Borradaile, 31-32.
  • 6. PROB 11/1849/405; IR26/1376/474.