Born in Liskeard, Cornwall, he was articled to Henry Rice of Liskeard and subsequently worked as assistant to Sir George Gilbert Scott from 1847 to 1864. He was clerk of works on the Albert Memorial in London, and worked under Scott's supervision on improvements to Lanhydrock House near Bodmin in 1857.
He returned to Liskeard in 1864 to open his own independent practice, and opened a London office in 1868.
From 1884 to 1887, Coad worked in association with James Marjoribanks MacLaren, who had been his assistant for some years. The pair worked on an extension to Ledbury Park in Herefordshire, an important work in the development of the Arts and Crafts architectural style in England.
- DSA Architect Biography Report Archived 2007-03-24 at the Wayback Machine.
- 'Albert Memorial: Design and commissioning', Survey of London: volume 38: South Kensington Museums Area (1975), pp. 148-59. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=47523. Date accessed: 19 February 2007.
- The Heritage Trail: Lanhydrock Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 19 February 2006
- Holden, Paul Richard Coad (1825 - 1900): Work in progress, Cornish Buildings Group
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