Rothschild banking family of England

Rothschild banking family of England

The Rothschild banking family of England was founded in 1798 by Nathan Mayer von Rothschild (1777-1836) who first settled in Manchester but then moved to London. Nathan was sent there from his home in Frankfurt by his father, Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812). Wanting his sons to succeed on their own and to expand the family business across Europe, Mayer Amschel Rothschild had his eldest son remain in Frankfurt, while his four other sons were sent to different European cities to establish a financial institution to invest in business and provide banking services. Nathan Mayer von Rothschild, the third son, first established a textile jobbing business in Manchester and from there went on to establish N M Rothschild & Sons bank in London.

Endogamy within the family was an essential part of the Rothschild strategy in order to ensure control of their wealth remained in family hands. From the home base in Frankfurt, Rothschild sons not only established themselves in England but also in Paris, Vienna and Naples in the Two Sicilies. Through their collaborative efforts, the Rothschilds rose to prominence in a variety of banking endeavours including loans, government bonds and trading in bullion. Their financing afforded investment opportunities and during the 19th century they became major stakeholders in large-scale mining and rail transport ventures that were fundamental to the rapidly expanding industrial economies of Europe.

Changes in the heads of government, war, and other such events affected the family's fortunes both for their benefit and to their detriment. However, three historical events in particular especially damaged the interests of all Rothschild banking families across Europe: 1) the Revolutions of 1848, 2) the Great Depression of the 1930s and 3) Nazism of the late 30s until the Second World War.

Involvement in finance and industry

During the early part of the 19th century, the Rothschild's London bank took a leading part in managing and financing the subsidies that the British government transferred to its allies during the Napoleonic Wars. Through the creation of a network of agents, couriers and shippers, the bank was able to provide funds to the armies of the Duke of Wellington in Portugal and Spain. In 1818 the Rothschild bank arranged a £5 million loan to the Prussian government and the issuing of bonds for government loans. The providing of other innovative and complex financing for government projects formed a mainstay of the bank's business for the better part of the century. N M Rothschild & Sons financial strength in the City of London became such that by 1825-6 , the bank was able to supply enough coin to the Bank of England to enable it to avert a liquidity crisis.

Nathan Mayer's eldest son, Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) succeeded him as head of the London branch. Under Lionel the bank financed the British government's 1875 purchase of a controlling interest in the Suez Canal. Lionel also began to invest in railways as his uncle James had been doing in France. In 1869, Lionel's son, Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918), became a director of the Bank of England, a post he held for 20 years. Alfred was one of those who represented the British Government at the 1892 International Monetary Conference in Brussels.

The Rothschild bank funded Cecil Rhodes in the development of the British South Africa Company and Leopold de Rothschild (1845-1917) administered Rhodes's estate after his death in 1902 and helped to set up the Rhodes Scholarship scheme at Oxford University. In 1873 de Rothschild Frères in France and N M Rothschild & Sons of London joined with other investors to acquire the Spanish government's money-losing Rio Tinto copper mines. The new owners restructured the company and turned it into a profitable business. By 1905, the Rothschild interest in Rio Tinto amounted to more than 30 percent. In 1887, the French and English Rothschild banking houses loaned money to, and invested in, the De Beers diamond mines in South Africa, becoming its largest shareholders.

The London banking house continued under the management of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1882-1942) and his brother Anthony Gustav de Rothschild (1887-1961) and then to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild (b.1931). In 2003, following Sir Evelyn's retirement as head of N M Rothschild & Sons of London, the English and French financial firms merged under the leadership of David René de Rothschild.

Decline of economic power

By the end of the 19th century, the introduction of national taxation systems had ended the Rothschild's policy of operating with a single set of commercial account records resulting in the various houses gradually going their own separate ways. The coherence that had worked so well for the five brothers and their successor sons had all but disappeared by World War I. In Britain, the introduction of estate taxes resulted in Rothschild inheritors handing over multi-millions to the government that brought an end to the passing down of their great mansions. However, the estate tax relative to the bank and corporate assets was far more detrimental long-term because it restricted growth at a time when publicly owned banks were expanding rapidly with huge resources raised on capital markets.

The decline of the French and British Empires particularly after World War I along with increased nationalization by governments restricted growth potential for the Rothschilds. However, business analysts generally agree that their failure to shift their focus to opportunities in the United States, where the greatest industrial expansion at that time was occurring, is a major factor in the Rothschild bankers of today being only a minor player in the global economy.

Other activities

Beyond banking and finance, members of the Rothschild family in England became academics, scientists and horticulturalists with worldwide reputations.

Nathaniel de Rothschild (1812-1870) was born in London, the fourth child of the founder of the British branch of the family. In 1842, he married cousin Charlotte de Rothschild (1825-1899) of Paris, France. She was the daughter of James Mayer de Rothschild and in 1850 they moved to Paris where he was to work for his father-in-law's bank. However, in 1853 Nathaniel acquired Château Brane Mouton, a vineyard in Pauillac in the Gironde département of France. Nathaniel Rothschild renamed the estate, Château Mouton Rothschild and it would become one of the best known wine labels in the world.

Elevated to Peerage

In 1822, the five Rothschild brothers at the head of the family's banks in various parts of Europe were each granted the title of baron or Freiherr by Austria's Francis I, formerly Francis II the last Holy Roman Emperor. As such, some members of the family used "de" or "von" Rothschild to acknowledge the grant of nobility. Only Nathan Mayer of the English branch never bothered with the title, taking pride in being simply "Mr. Rothschild."

In 1847, Anthony Nathan de Rothschild (1810-1876) was created "1st Baronet de Rothschild, of Tring Park". On his death, the title went to his nephew Nathan Mayer Rothschild II who was subsequently elevated to the House of Lords and created Baron Rothschild in 1885 with which title the baronetcy remains merged.

In 1850 Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) became the first Jewish member of the British Parliament.


The English Rothschilds and members of the other branches in Europe were all major contributors to causes in aid of the Jewish people. However, many of their philanthropic efforts extended far beyond Jewish ethnic or religious communities. They built hospitals and shelters for the needy, supported cultural institutions and were patrons of individual artists. Their donation of works of art to various galleries has been the largest of any family in history. At present, a research project is underway by The Rothschild Archive [] in London to document the family's philanthropic involvements.

Members of the Rothschild family of England include:
* Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918)
* Amschel Mayor James Rothschild (1955-1996)
* Anthony Gustav de Rothschild (1887-1961)
* Anthony James de Rothschild (b. 1977)
* Anthony Nathan de Rothschild (1810-1876)
* Charles Rothschild (1877-1923)
* Charlotte Henriette de Rothschild (b. 1955)
* David Lionel de Rothschild (b. 1955)
* David Mayer de Rothschild (b. 1978)
* Dorothy de Rothschild (1895-1988)
* Edmund Leopold de Rothschild (b. 1916)
* Emma Georgina Rothschild (b. 1948)
* Evelina de Rothschild (1839-1866)
* Evelyn Achille de Rothschild (1886-1917)
* Sir Evelyn de Rothschild (b. 1931)
* Hannah de Rothschild, Countess of Rosebery (1851-1890)
* Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild (b. 1936)
* Kathleen (Nica de Koenigswarter) Rothschild (1913-1990)
* Leopold de Rothschild (1845-1917)
* Leopold David de Rothschild (b. 1927)
* Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879)
* Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1882-1942)
* Lynn Forester de Rothschild (b. 1954)
* Mayer Amschel de Rothschild (1818-1874)
* Miriam Louisa Rothschild (1908-2005)
* Nathaniel de Rothschild (1812-1870)
* Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836)
* Nathan Mayer Rothschild, 1st Baron Rothschild (1840-1915)
* Nathaniel Philip Rothschild (b. 1971)
* Simon de Rothschild (b. 1971)
* Victor Rothschild, 3rd Baron Rothschild (1910-1990)
* Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild (1868-1937)

Rothschild properties

All branches of the Rothschild banking family are famous for their art collections and a number for their palatial estates. Among the Rothschild properties in England were:

* Ascott House - Ascott, Buckinghamshire
* Aston Clinton House - Aston Clinton
* Ashton Wold - Northamptonshire
* Bentley Priory - Hertfordshire
* Exbury Estate - Hampshire
* Eythrope - Waddesdon
* Gunnersbury Park - Ealing
* Halton House - Halton, Buckinghamshire
* Mentmore Towers - Mentmore
* Tring Park - Tring, Hertfordshire
* Waddesdon Manor - Waddesdon

ee also

*Rothschild banking family of Austria
*Rothschild banking family of France
*Rothschild banking family of Germany
*Rothschild banking family of Naples
*Rothschild banking family of Switzerland


* "Rise of the House of Rothschild" by Egon Caesar Corti (1928) (reprint 1982, 2003) R A Kessinger Publishing Co, London, 2003 ISBN 0-7661-4435-6
* "The Rothschilds; a Family Portrait" by Frederic Morton. Atheneum Publishers (1962) ISBN 1-56836-220-X (1998 reprint)
* "The Rothschilds, a Family of Fortune" by Virginia Cowles. Alfred A. Knopf (1973) ISBN 0-394-48773-7
* "Two Rothschilds and the Land of Israel" by Simon Schama. Knopf, London (1978) ISBN 0-394-50137-3
* "Rothschilds at Waddesdon Manor" by Dorothy de Rothschild. Viking Penguin (1979) ISBN 0-670-60854-8
* "The English Rothschilds" by Richard Davis. Collins, London (1983) ISBN 0-00-216212-1
* "A History of the Jews" by Paul M. Johnson (1987) HarperCollins Publishers ISBN 5-551-76858-9
* "Rothschild: The Wealth and Power of a Dynasty" by Derek Wilson. Scribner, London (1988) ISBN 0-684-19018-4
* "House of Rothschild : Money's Prophets: 1798-1848" by Niall Ferguson. Viking Press (1998) ISBN 0-670-85768-8
* "The Rothschild Gardens" by Miriam Louisa Rothschild (1998) Harry N. Abrams, Inc., London ISBN 0-8109-3790-5
* "Gilt-edged Life: A Memoir" by Edmund de Rothschild (1998) John Murray Publishers Ltd., London ISBN 0-7195-5471-3
* "The House of Rothschild (vol. 2) : The World's Banker: 1849-1999" by Niall Ferguson. Diane Publishing Co. (1999) ISBN 0-7567-5393-7
* "Charlotte and Lionel: A Rothschild Love Story" by Stanley Weintraub. (2003) Free Press, London ISBN 0-7432-2686-0

External links

* [ The Rothschild Archive] - an international centre in London for research into the history of the Rothschild family.
* [ The Musical Associations of the Rothschild Family by Charlotte Henriette de Rothschild]

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