Nathan Rothschild, 1st Baron Rothschild

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For other persons with a similar name, see Nathaniel Rothschild.
The Right Honourable
The Lord Rothschild
1st Baron Rothschild.jpg
Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire
In office
Monarch Victoria
Edward VII
George V
Preceded by The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos
Succeeded by The Marquess of Lincolnshire
Member of Parliament
for Aylesbury
In office
Serving with Samuel George Smith 1865–1880
George W. E. Russell 1880–1885
Preceded by Thomas Tyringham Bernard
Samuel George Smith
Succeeded by Ferdinand James von Rothschild
Personal details
Born Nathan Mayer Rothschild
(1840-11-08)8 November 1840
Died 31 March 1915(1915-03-31) (aged 74)
Spouse(s) Emma Louise von Rothschild (m. 1867)
Children Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild
Evelina Rothschild-Behrens
Charles Rothschild
Parents Lionel de Rothschild
Charlotte von Rothschild
Education Trinity College, Cambridge
Religion Ashkenazi Jew

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, 1st Baron Rothschild, Baron de Rothschild,[1] BtGCVOPC (8 November 1840 – 31 March 1915), was a British banker and politician from the international Rothschild financial dynasty.

Life and family[edit]

Known as "Natty," he was the eldest son of Baron Lionel de Rothschild (1808–1879) and Baroness Charlotte de Rothschild (née von Rothschild), grandson of Nathan Mayer Rothschild after whom he was named, and the great-grandson of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, founder of the dynasty.

He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge,[2] where he was a friend of the Prince of Wales, but left without taking a degree.

On 16 April 1867, he married Emma Louise von Rothschild (1844–1935), a cousin from the Rothschild banking family of Germany in Frankfurt. They had the following children:


In 1847, his uncle Anthony Nathan de Rothschild (1810–1876) was created 1st Baronet de Rothschild, of Tring Park. Since Sir Anthony had no male heirs, the baronetcy passed on his death to his nephew Nathan Mayer Rothschild. In 1885, Rothschild became a member of the House of Lords when he was created Baron Rothschild, of Tring in the County of Hertford, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.[3] He also was Baron de Rothschild (Freiherr von Rothschild), of the Austrian Empire, a noble title he had inherited via his father. In 1838, Queen Victoria had authorized the use of this Austrian title in the United Kingdom.[1]

Rothschild sat in the House of Commons as Liberal Member of Parliament for Aylesbury from 1865 to 1885. Rothschild was elected at least four times before he was permitted to sit in the Commons. As a religious Jew, he was unable to enter public life. Disraeli stood for equality for Jews before the law; when asked to vote the Public Worship Bill, he rejected Tory Protectionism. When Rothschild finally entered the chamber, he moved to the Conservative benches to shake his opponent by the hand. One of the most important consequences for the emancipation of the Jews was that these freedoms were written into the Second Reform Act.

When he was created a peer by Gladstone and raised to the House of Lords,[4] Rothschild was the first Jewish member of the House of Lords not previously converted to Christianity (Benjamin Disraeli had been created Lord Beaconsfield in 1876, but was baptised into Anglicanism at age twelve).

In common with the rest of his family, Rothschild joined the breakaway Liberal Unionist Party formed in 1886 by Joseph Chamberlain, which ultimately merged into the Conservatives. [5]

In 1909, he became famously derided by then Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, over his opposition to the People's Budget, when the latter said, at a meeting at the Holborn Restaurant on 24 June that year: "I really think we are having too much Lord Rothschild. Are we to have all ways of reform, financial and social, blocked, simply by a notice-board; 'No Thoroughfare. By Order of Nathaniel Rothschild'?"[6]

Rothschild recommended the Lords reject the Parliament Bill which was, however, passed.[7]

In 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, Rothschild was consulted for economic advice by Lloyd George. At his first invitation to confer at the Treasury, to a question as to what could be done to raise more money for the war effort, Rothschild reportedly answered: "Tax the rich, and tax them heavily."[8]

The peerage was inherited by his son, Lionel Walter Rothschild.


He worked as a partner in the London branch of the family bank N M Rothschild & Sons and became head of the bank after his father's death in 1879. During his tenure, he also maintained its pre-eminent position in private venture finance and in issuing loans to the governments of the USA, Russia and Austria. Following the Rothschilds' funding of the Suez Canal, a close relationship was maintained with Benjamin Disraeli and affairs in Egypt.

Natty also funded Cecil Rhodes in the development of the British South Africa Company and the De Beers diamond conglomerate. He later administered Rhodes's estate after his death in 1902 and helped to set up the Rhodes Scholarship scheme at the University of Oxford.

A noted philanthropist, Rothschild was heavily involved with the foundation of the Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company, a model dwellings company whose aim was to provide decent housing, predominantly for the Jews of Spitalfields and Whitechapel.[9] He also served as a trustee of the London Mosque Fund until his death.[10]

Rothschild in his youth was a Captain in the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry,[11] was Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire from 1889 until his death, and was well known as an agriculturist.[4]

He was made a Privy Counsellor and a member of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO), both in 1902.[11]


He died in London, five days after an operation, on 31 March 1915 and was buried at Willesden Jewish Cemetery.[12]

See also[edit]

Cultural references[edit]


  1. ^ a b Bulletins of State Intelligence, 1838, p. 220 
  2. ^ "Rothschild, Nathaniel Mayer (RTST859NM)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 25486. p. 3060. 3 July 1885.
  4. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Rothschild, Nathaniel Mayer, 1st Baron". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York. 
  5. ^ Roth, Cecil (1939). The Magnificent Rothschilds. Robert Hale. p. 128. 
  6. ^ Roth, Cecil. The Magnificent Rothschilds. p. 130. 
  7. ^ Roth, Cecil. The Magnificent Rothschilds. p. 131. 
  8. ^ Roth, Cecil. The Magnificent Rothschilds. pp. 275–276. 
  9. ^ White, J. (1980) Rothschild Buildings: life in an East End tenement block, 1887–1920, p.21
  10. ^ East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre. History display at their premises at 46–92 Whitechapel Road, London as seen on 28 April 2011.
  11. ^ a b Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1913. Kelly's. p. 1487. 
  12. ^ Roth, Cecil. The Magnificent Rothschilds. pp. 277–278. 
  • Joseph Valynseele & Henri-Claude Mars, Le Sang des Rothschild, L'Intermédiaire des Chercheurs et Curieux, Paris.
  • See also the list of references at Rothschild banking family of England

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Tyringham Bernard
Samuel George Smith
Member of Parliament for Aylesbury
2-seat constituency until 1885

With: Samuel George Smith 1865–1880
George W. E. Russell 1880–1885
Succeeded by
Ferdinand James von Rothschild
Honorary titles

Preceded by
The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos
Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Lincolnshire
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New title Baron Rothschild
Succeeded by
Walter Rothschild
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Anthony Nathan de Rothschild
(of Tring Park)
Succeeded by
Walter Rothschild
Titles of nobility

of the Austrian Empire

Preceded by
Lionel de Rothschild
Baron de Rothschild
Succeeded by
Walter Rothschild