Thomas Baring (1799-1873) was a partner of Barings from 1828 until his death and led the house in the 1850s and 1860s. He was a grandson of the firm’s founder Sir Francis and the second son of his eldest son, also Thomas.
He worked as a clerk with Hope & Co of Amsterdam from 1817, but initially disliked the work and contemplated a career in the law instead. However, he became a partner in Hopes in 1824 and in Barings four years later.
He worked closely with Joshua Bates, who was initially the more senior and experienced partner. They brought complementary skills to the partnership and the firm became increasingly successful.
Baring’s focus was the expansion of the firm’s bond issuing business. His ability to build and maintain relationships with overseas governments was vital for the success of this work. The proceeds of many of the bond issues he handled were used to finance the construction of railways. He became such an expert in this field that one railway manager commented in 1853, “Ask about anything and the reply is ‘What does Mr Thomas Baring say or think?’”
Thomas Baring was MP for Great Yarmouth (1835-7) and Huntingdon (1844-73), sitting as a Tory. He was a confidant of Benjamin Disraeli, but declined various offers of Cabinet posts. He was also Chairman of Lloyds and a director of the Bank of England and served as a Commissioner of the Great Exhibition of 1851.
In 1853 he inherited Norman Court in Hampshire from a cousin and filled it with his extensive art collection.