Thomas Raikes (dandy)

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Engraving of Thomas Raikes Portrait of Thomas Raikes, Esqr. ; Portrait of Thomas Raikes, Esq (4671845) (cropped).jpg
Engraving of Thomas Raikes

Thomas Raikes ("the Younger") (3 October 1777 – 3 July 1848) was a British merchant banker, dandy and diarist.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

A merchant bank is historically a bank dealing in commercial loans and investment. In modern British usage it is the same as an investment bank. Merchant banks were the first modern banks and evolved from medieval merchants who traded in commodities, particularly cloth merchants. Historically, merchant banks' purpose was to facilitate and/or finance production and trade of commodities, hence the name "merchant". Few banks today restrict their activities to such a narrow scope.

Dandy man who places particular importance upon physical appearance

A dandy, historically, is a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of self. A dandy could be a self-made man who strove to imitate an aristocratic lifestyle despite coming from a middle-class background, especially in late 18th- and early 19th-century Britain.



Raikes was born in 1777, the eldest son of Thomas Raikes the Elder and his wife, Charlotte. He was educated at Eton, where his friends included George (later "Beau") Brummell, whose friendship would extend into Raikes' adult life.

Eton College British independent boarding school located in Eton

Eton College is an English 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore , as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school.

Beau Brummell English man of fashion

George Bryan "Beau" Brummell was an iconic figure in Regency England and for many years the arbiter of men's fashion. At one time he was a close friend of the Prince Regent, the future King George IV, but after the two quarrelled, and Brummell got into debt, he had to take refuge in France. Eventually he died shabby and insane in Caen.

In 1795, Raikes was sent to the continent to study modern languages under a private tutor. He travelled widely, visiting many of the German courts. On his return, he became a partner in his father's banking business, a position which he retained, despite continuing trips to Europe.

In 1814, Raikes was at the Hague, where he stayed in the house of the British ambassador, Richard Trench. He visited Paris three times (1814, 1819, and 1820), and spent the winter of 1829–30 in Russia. In 1833, he left London for France, where he remained for eight years. In 1841 the Tory Party took government in the UK, and Raikes, in the hope of securing a post under the patronage of the new Prime Minister, Robert Peel, returned to London. He was unsuccessful in securing a position and divided his time over the next years between London and Paris.

1841 United Kingdom general election

In the 1841 United Kingdom general election, there was a big swing as Sir Robert Peel's Conservatives took control of the House of Commons. Melbourne's Whigs had seen their support in the Commons erode over the previous years. Whilst Melbourne enjoyed the firm support of the young Queen Victoria, his ministry had seen increasing defeats in the Commons, culminating in the defeat of the government's budget in May 1841 by 36 votes, and by 1 vote in a 4 June 1841 vote of no confidence put forward by Peel. The Whigs and Tories were at odds over whether Melbourne's defeat required his resignation, with the Queen being advised by Lord Brougham that calling an election would be without precedent, and that it should only be dissolved to strengthen the government's hands, whereas dissolution facing the Whigs in 1841 was expected to result in their defeat. Melbourne himself opposed dissolution, although his cabinet came to accept it, and Melbourne requested the Queen dissolve Parliament, leading to an election.

Robert Peel British Conservative statesman

Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and twice as Home Secretary. He is regarded as the father of modern British policing, owing to his founding of the Metropolitian Police Service. Peel was one of the founders of the modern Conservative Party.

In May 1846, in poor health, he went to Bath to take the waters. Thereafter, he bought a house in Brighton, where he died on 3 July 1848.

Bath, Somerset City in Somerset, England

Bath is the largest city in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England, known for its Roman-built baths. In 2011, the population was 88,859. Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles (156 km) west of London and 11 miles (18 km) south-east of Bristol. The city became a World Heritage site in 1987.

Dandy and diarist

Raikes was best known in London as a dandy. He spent much of his time there in the fashionable clubs of the West End: he was a member of the Carlton Club, Watier's and White's, where his name appeared regularly in the betting book. In the City, he was nicknamed 'Apollo', because "he rose in the east and set in the west". He was punningly caricatured by Richard Dighton as "One of the Rake's of London".

West End of London Area of Central London, England

The West End of London refers to a distinct region of Central London, west of the City of London and north of the River Thames, in which many of the city's major tourist attractions, shops, businesses, government buildings and entertainment venues, including West End theatres, are concentrated.

Carlton Club Gentlemens club in London

The Carlton Club is a London private members' club which describes itself as "the original home of the Conservative Party before the days of Conservative Central Office". Membership of the club is by nomination and election only.

Whites gentlemens club in the City of Westminster, London, England

White's is a gentleman's club in St James's, London, regarded as one of the most exclusive of its kind.

Raikes' journal is notable for containing the memoirs of a man who counted among his friends some of the most influential men of his day, including Beau Brummell, the Duke of Wellington, Baron Alvanley, and Talleyrand. A four-volume 'portion' of the journal was published after his death, in 1856-7, and two volumes of Private Correspondence with the Arthur Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington and other Distinguished Contemporaries were published, edited by his daughter, in 1861.


Raikes married Sophia Maria Bayly on 4 May 1802. Bayly was the daughter of Jamaican proprietor Nathaniel Bayly. She died on 8 March 1822.

With Sophia Maria, Raikes had one son and three daughters. His daughter Harriet became a novelist and editor of her father's correspondence with Arthur Wellesley, 2nd Duke of Wellington.

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