Rothschild banking family of England

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This article is about the Rothschild banking family of England. For the family overview, see Rothschild family and for a bank founded by the family see N M Rothschild & Sons

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.

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[edit]

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, therefore funding war. 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 1825-26, 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 Egypt's 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.

Other activities[edit]

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[edit]

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 practising Jewish member of the British Parliament.

Philanthropy[edit]

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 [1] in London to document the family's philanthropic involvements.

Family members[edit]

For the family tree of the Rothschild family, see Genealogy of the Rothschild family.

Members of the Rothschild family of England include:

Rothschild properties[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]