Grant, Baron Albert

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GRANT, BARON ALBERT (Albert Gottheimer ; 1831–1889), British financier. Born in Dublin, educated in London and Paris, Grant introduced in Britain the Crédit-Foncier type of mobilizing small investments for large projects. Many of his enterprises lacked solidity, and he was often attacked and lampooned. His companies, 37 in all, included public utilities and financial institutions in Europe and overseas. Their issued capital totaled 25 million sterling ($125 million), but eventually were worth only 5 million ($25 million). Grant also initiated slum clearance and collected paintings. He was member of Parliament for Kidderminster, 1865–68 and 1874–80. He purchased Leicester Square (London), then a garbage dump, converted it into a public garden, and handed it over to the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1874. In 1868 he was ennobled by King Victor Emanuel of Italy. He died in comparatively poor circumstances at Bognor. One of the most visible and colorful Anglo-Jewish businessmen of his time, Grant is often said to have been the original of Auguste Melmotte in Anthony Trollope's famous novel The Way We Live Now (1875).

add. bibliography:

odnb online; dbb, ii, 623–29.

[Joachim O. Ronall /

William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]