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Peto, Sir Samuel Morton, Bart

PETO, SIR SAMUEL MORTON, BART. (1800-1889), English contractor, was born at Woking, Surrey, on the 4th of August 1809, and was at an early age apprenticed to his uncle, a London builder, who on his death in 1830 bequeathed the business to Peto and another nephew, Thomas Grissell. The partnership between Peto and Grissell lasted till 1846, amongst the many London buildings erected by the firm being the Reform Club, the Lyceum and St James's theatres, and the Nelson column. Peto afterwards entered into partnership with Edward Ladd Belts (1815-1872), and between 1846 and 1872 Messrs Peto & Betts carried out many large railway contracts at home and abroad, notably the more important portions of the South-Eastern and of the London Chatham & Dover lines, and, in conjunction with Thomas Brassey, the Grand Trunk railway of Canada, and the London Tilbury & Southend railway. In 1854-1855 Peto and Brassey constructed a railway in the Crimea between Balaclava and the British entrenchments before Sebastopol, charging the British government .only the actual out-of-pocket expenses, and for his services in this matter Peto was in 1855 made a baronet. Peto entered parliament as a Liberal in 1847, and, with a few years' interval, continued there till 1868, when, his firm having been compelled to suspend payment in the financial crisis of 1866, he was forced to resign his seat, though both Mr Disraeli and Mr Gladstone publicly eulogized his personal character. He died on the 13th of November 1889.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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