Alfred Mond, 1st Baron Melchett

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Melchett
FRS PC
Alfred Mond.jpg
First Commissioner of Works
In office
10 December 1916 – 1 April 1921
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Lewis Vernon Harcourt
Succeeded by The Earl of Crawford
Minister of Health
In office
1 April 1921 – 19 October 1922
Monarch George V
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Christopher Addison
Succeeded by Sir Arthur Griffith-Boscawen
Personal details
Born Alfred Moritz Mond
23 October 1868 (1868-10-23)
Farnworth, Widnes, Lancashire, England
Died 27 December 1930 (1930-12-28)
London
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Conservative
Spouse(s) Violet Goetze (d. 1945)
Alma mater St. John's College, Cambridge
University of Edinburgh

Alfred Moritz Mond, 1st Baron Melchett PC, FRS (23 October 1868 – 27 December 1930), known as Sir Alfred Mond, Bt, between 1910 and 1928, was a British industrialist, financier and politician. In his later life he became an active Zionist.

Early life and education[edit]

Mond was born in Farnworth, Widnes, Lancashire, England, the younger son of Ludwig Mond, a chemist and industrialist of Jewish extraction who had emigrated from Germany, and his wife Frieda, née Löwenthal. He was educated at Cheltenham College and St. John's College, Cambridge,[1] but failed his natural sciences tripos. He then studied law at Edinburgh University and was called to the bar by the Inner Temple in 1894.[2]

Business career[edit]

Following this he joined his father's business, Brunner Mond & Company as director, later becoming its managing director. He was also managing director of his father's other company the Mond Nickel Company. Other directorships included those of the International Nickel Corporation of Canada, the Westminster Bank and the Industrial Finance Investment Corporation. His major business achievement was in 1926 working to create the merger of four separate companies to form Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) one of the world's largest industrial corporations at the time.[2] He became its first chairman.[3]

Political career[edit]

Mond was also involved in politics and sat as Liberal Member of Parliament for Chester from 1906 to 1910, for Swansea from 1910 to 1918 and for Swansea West from 1918 to 1923. He served in the coalition government of David Lloyd George as First Commissioner of Works from 1916 to 1921 and as Minister of Health (with a seat in the cabinet) from 1921 to 1922. He later switched party and represented Carmarthen from 1924 to 1928, initially as a Liberal. However, in 1926 Mond became a Conservative, after falling out with Lloyd George over the former Prime Minister's controversial plans to nationalise agricultural land.[2][4]

Mond was created a Baronet, of Hartford Hill in Great Budworth in the County of Chester, in 1910,[5] and was admitted to the Privy Council in 1913.[2][6] In 1928 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Melchett, of Landford in the County of Southampton.[2][7]

Benefactions, Zionism and honours[edit]

Mond's father had bequeathed a collection of old master paintings to the National Gallery and Alfred provided housing for them in 1924. In 1929 he provided land in Chelsea for the Chelsea Health Society.[2]

He first visited Palestine in 1921 with Chaim Weizmann and subsequently became an enthusiastic Zionist, contributing money to the Jewish Colonization Corporation for Palestine and writing for Zionist publications.[2] He became President of the British Zionist Foundation and made financial contributions to Zionist causes. He was the first President of the Technion in 1925.[8] Melchett founded the town of Tel Mond, now in Israel.[9] Melchett also started building what is now one of the few private houses on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, now known as Villa Melchett. Tel Aviv and several other Israeli cities have a Melchett Street commemorating him.

One of Mond's most enduring contributions to Zionism did not come through direct political means but through his enthusiastic and active support of Pinhas Rutenberg, whom the British Government granted exclusive concessions to produce and distribute electricity in Palestine. Mond sat on the Board of the Palestine Electric Company and actively promoted the case of the company in London's political and industrial circles[10]

Mond was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1928 and received a number of honorary degrees from Oxford, Paris and other universities.[2]

Personal life[edit]

The Iconoclast
Sir Alfred Mond: "I'm sorry to have to disturb Your Majesty, but, owing to the shortage of sites—"
George III: "Shortage of sights, indeed!"
(It is understood that a number of London statues, including that of George III in Cockspur Street, are to be removed by the Office of Works to make room for new ones.)
Cartoon from Punch magazine, 18 August 1920.

In 1894 Mond married Violet Goetze and they had one son, Henry Ludwig, and three daughters. Mond died in his London home in 1930, and his son succeeded in the barony.[2]

Publications[edit]

  • Industry and Politics (1927)
  • Imperial Economic Unity (1930)

Literary references[edit]

Mond is mentioned in T. S. Eliot's 1920 poem A Cooking Egg.[11]

He is also widely considered to be the inspiration behind Mustapha Mond, one of the ten world controllers in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mond, Alfred Moritz (MNT886AM)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Greenaway, Frank (2004) 'Mond family (per. 1867–1973)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. [1] Retrieved on 9 March 2007.
  3. ^ ICI's first chairman Sir Alfred Mond, Picture Stockton, retrieved 25 June 2007 
  4. ^ Bolitho, Alfred Mond: First Lord Melchett; Carmarthen Record Office, Dynevor Papers"
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 28400. pp. 5391–5392. 26 July 1910.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 29728. p. 4187. 13 June 1913.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33395. p. 4180. 19 June 1928.
  8. ^ Weintraub, Bob, Alfred Mond (Lord Melchett): Great Zionist Leader, The Israel Chemical Society, p. 6, retrieved 25 June 2007 
  9. ^ Tel Mond, Israel, Sarasota Sister Cities Association, retrieved 25 June 2007 
  10. ^ Shamir, Ronen (2013) Current Flow: The Electrification of Palestine. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 121, 127, 134
  11. ^ www.bartleby.com
  12. ^ Aldous Huxley's Bokanovsky ("Bokanowski" de Aldous Huxley). JSTOR 4239919. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Yerburgh
Member of Parliament for Chester
1906–1910
Succeeded by
Robert Yerburgh
Preceded by
Sir George Newnes, Bt
Member of Parliament for Swansea
1910–1918
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Swansea West
1918–1923
Succeeded by
Howel Walter Samuel
Preceded by
Sir Ellis Ellis-Griffith, Bt
Member of Parliament for Carmarthen
1924–1928
Succeeded by
William Nathaniel Jones
Political offices
Preceded by
Lewis Vernon Harcourt
First Commissioner of Works
1916–1921
Succeeded by
The Earl of Crawford
Preceded by
Christopher Addison
Minister of Health
1921–1922
Succeeded by
Sir Arthur Griffith-Boscawen
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Baron Melchett
1928–1930
Succeeded by
Henry Mond