The Hon. Henry Cavendish


  • Richest of the Rich position: 156
  • Birth/Death: 1731-1810
  • Origin of wealth: Land
  • Wealth: £1.175m
  • Net National Income: £300m
  • Net National Income Percent: 0.39%
  • In Today’s Money: £4.328 billion

A grandson of the second Duke of Devonshire, Henry Cavendish was born in 1731. After leaving Cambridge in 1753, he spent the rest of his life in scientific discovery and experiments at his home in Clapham Common, London. A virtual recluse who barely spoke to anyone, Cavendish would only leave his house for meetings of the Royal Society. He was the first person to convert oxygen and hydrogen into water. He died in 1810, after virtually his only illness.

As he lived very modestly, his fortune had piled up to around £1.175m at his death, equivalent to 0.39% of the Â300m net national income of the day. In today’s terms that would be £4.3bn

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