Chronology c.1450 to the present day
Selected milestones in the history of the family and key dates in the history of the development of the Rothschild businesses are detailed here. Click on a year date to reveal further information about the events that shaped history; a relevant image will also appear at the top of the page.
1450s The first identified Rothschild ancestor in Frankfurt
In 1973, under the direction of Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild, a detailed Rothschild family tree was commissioned which traced the family back to 'Uri Feibesh' in 1450. The primary sources for the first ten generations of the 1973 family tree were 'Die Inschriften des alten Friedhofs der israelitischen Gemeinde zu Frankfurt A.M.' by M. Horovuitz (J .Kauffmann, Frankurt a.M.); the Memorbuch of the Frankfurt Jewish Community (National Library, Jerusalem); the Burial Society Record of the Frankfurt Jewish Community (sefer ha-Kabranim) and the Parish Registers in the State Archives of Wiesbaden.
The family tree of 1973.
1530 House of the 'Red Shield' built in Frankfurt
The 'House of the Red Shield' (from which the family derive their name) was built by Rothschild ancestors in the Judengassse in Frankfurt. The Frankfurter Judengasse (from German: “Jews' Alley”) was the Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt and one of the earliest ghettos in Germany. It existed from 1462 until 1796 and was home to Germany's largest Jewish community in early modern times.At the end of the 19th century, most of the buildings in the Judengasse were demolished. The area suffered major destruction during World War II and reconstruction has left no visible signs of the ghetto in today's townscape of Frankfurt.
Map of the Frankfurt. The Judengasse is in the top right-hand corner.
1650s First evidence of the name 'Rothschild' in records
Frankfurt Jews were not compelled to have surnames until 1807, so the inhabitants used names that referred to a place, or the names of houses where they lived. The descendants of the first Rothschild ancestors were known at different times by many names, before commonly adopting the name 'Rothschild' from 'red shield'. Although taking the name Rothschild, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, his wife Gutle and their ten children later lived in the 'House of the Green Shield' in Frankfurt's Judengasse.
A Rothschild pedigree.
1744 Mayer Amschel Rothschild born in Frankfurt
Mayer Amschel Rothschild founder of the Rothschild partnership is born in Frankfurt. His family were in retail trade and since the begining of the century had been money changers on a small scale. At the age of ten he was employed by his father changing coins.
The Judengasse where Mayer Amschel Rothshcild was born in 1744.
1757 Mayer Amschel Rothschild apprenticed at Oppenheimer Bank
In 1757, family connections helped secure Mayer Amschel Rothschild an apprenticeship at the banking firm of Wolf Jakob Oppenheim in Hanover. The Oppenheims were a prominent family of bankers, which in the previous one hundred years had branched out from the Frankfurt Judengasse to Vienna, Stuttgart, Bonn, Hildesheim and Hanover. At their office in Hanover, the young Rothschild acquired experience in finance and learnt the art of being a Court Jew.
Map of Hanover, c.1800.
1769 Mayer Amschel Rothschild becomes Court Agent to the Principality of Hesse-Hanau
In 1769, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a dealer in coins, was appointed Crown Agent to the Principality of Hesse-Hanau. From this hard won position, he launched himself into the world of banking. Later, with the help of his sons, he began to expand further his business, emphasising to them the strength that lay in family unity.
Deed of Hessen country of Wilhelm I conerning the appointment of Mayer Amschel von Rothschild (1744-1812) as the court financial agent, 21 September 1769.
1773 Birth of Amschel Mayer Rothschild
Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1773-1855) was the most pious, cautious and conservative of the Rothschild brothers. Amschel was taken into the family business, MA Rothschild & Söhne, aged about twelve, and was soon travelling on behalf of his father to other trading centres of Germany. He was in fact the first of the brothers to establish a business centre away from Frankfurt, but his stay in Cassel in 1805 proved only temporary. In 1814 Amschel was in Berlin, handling subsidy payments to Britain's allies during the Napoleonic wars. Amschel married Eva Hanau on 16 November 1796, but their union produced no children, to Amschel's great sorrow. The sons of his brother, Carl, inherited the Frankfurt business from him.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1773-1855).
1774 Birth of Salomon Mayer Rothschild
The Viennese bank, S. M. von Rothschild, was established by Salomon Mayer Rothschild (1774-1855). Salomon settled in Vienna after negotiating a lottery loan of 58 million florins to rescue the Austrian Treasury. Salomon funded the first major steam railway to be built in continental Europe, the Kaiser Ferdinands Nordbahn, which opened in 1839. In 1843 he purchased the Witkowitz iron works in Moravia. Salomon did not find his Viennese base quite so congenial as his brothers' new homes. Prevented as a Jew from owning property in the city, he simply rented the whole of the Römischer Kaiser hotel, which became the base for the firm he founded in his name. After the revolutionary period of 1848, Salomon settled in France.
Salomon Mayer Rothschild (1774-1855).
1777 Birth of Nathan Mayer Rothschild
Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836) established the London banking house that still bears his name, and led his brothers to the pinnacle of the financial world. Nathan's London House, N M Rothschild at New Court, St Swithin's Lane in the City dealt in bullion and foreign exchange, and he supplied Wellington's troops with gold coin in 1814 and 1815. He issued 26 British and foreign government loans between 1818 and 1835, and in 1824 floated the Alliance Assurance Company.
Nathan and his family are depicted in the painting by Hobday above, c,1824. In 1825, the family's town home was established at 107, Piccadilly and in 1835, Nathan acquired Gunnersbury Park in west London.
1785 Rothschild family move into the 'House of the Green Shield'
As business prospered, Mayer Amschel bought a larger semi-detached house in the Judengasse where he lived with his wife Gutle and their ten children, and from which the family business was managed. The other half of the house was occupied by the Schiff family, later to become American bankers. Mayer Amschel's sons began working with him at the age of 12.
The House of the Green Shield.
1788 Birth of Carl Mayer Rothschild
Carl Mayer Rothschild (1788-1855) travelled extensively during the Napoleonic wars, acting as courier for the transfer of funds. In the early 1820s, Carl was dispatched to Naples to handle the family's business there. Carl formed the fifth Rothschild house at Naples under the name C M von Rothschild & figli, and under his guidance the firm arranged financing for the draining of the Tuscan marshes, public works in Sardinia and in support of the Papal States. In Naples he occupied the fine Villa Chiaia. Together with his wife, Adelheid Hertz, Carl played host to important political and society figures. After his death in Frankfurt on 10 March 1855, Carl was succeeded in the business by his son, Adolph, while his sons Mayer Carl and Wilhelm Carl succeeded their uncle Amschel in Frankfurt.
Carl Mayer Rothschild (1788-1855).
1792 Birth of James Rothschild
From the age of 19, James was in Paris co-ordinating the purchase of specie and bullion for Nathan, and in 1814 and 1815 he was key to Nathan's plan to furnish Wellington's armies with funds. Remaining in Paris, James founded the Rothschild firm of de Rothschild Frères. The French house, based in the rue Laffitte funded many loans to European governments and was instrumental in the development of railways in France and the rest of Europe. James married his niece, Betty, the daughter of his brother Salomon, in 1824, and they entertained on a grand scale, in Paris and in the château de Boulogne and at Ferrières. James became the trusted adviser of ministers and kings, holding the reins of power within the family firm after the death of Nathan in 1836. His domination of the firm ended with his death in 1868.
James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868).
1796 The first Rothschild family partnership
In 1810, Mayer Amschel entered into an elaborate partnership with his two eldest sons Amschel, later to lead the Frankfurt Bank, and Salomon, who established the Viennese business, thereby creating the first Rothschild partnership.
A united family - detail of five arrows from a Rothschild coat of arms.
1798 Nathan Rothschild leaves Frankfurt for Manchester
From his Manchester base, Nathan, aged 21, established Rothschild Brothers in 1799 as commission agents to co-ordinate the supply of British textiles to the continental market for his father’s account. Nathan quickly built up an impressive reputation as a successful merchant operating on the principle of high turnover and modest profits, taking advantage of the opportunity to bypass the middle men and purchasing textiles direct from the manufacturers. On his own account he was soon trading in indigo, precious stones and wine. In the early years of the nineteenth century, the Napoleonic blockade took its toll on commission agents by preventing the export of British textiles altogether and Nathan looked to London to extend the purely financial activities of his mercantile trade - discount and acceptance, for which he was gaining a reputation. Nathan probably registered as a merchant in London in 1804.
Nathan Rothschild's textile order book.
1800 Mayer Amschel Rothschild granted title of Imperial Crown Agent
This was a passport to Mayer Amschel Rothschild throughout Germany and liberated him from several taxes and obligations on Jews. Such was the success of the early Rothschild business that by 1800, Mayer Amschel Rothschild was assessed as the tenth richest Jew in Frankfurt.
View of Frankfurt.
1806 The first Rothschild client: The Elector of Hesse Cassel
The Elector of Hesse Cassel, fleeing Napoleon in 1806, entrusted part of his fortune to Mayer Amschel Rothschild. Mayer turned to his son, Nathan in London. Nathan invested £550,000 of the Elector's funds in British government securities and bullion. These investments proved extremely lucrative and, by the time the Elector returned from exile, had accrued considerable interest. The Rothschilds' reputation for trustworthiness and astute financial management was firmly established.
Miniature illustrating the traditional story of the founding of the Rothschild fortune: the return of the (treasure) chests to the Elector of Hesse, after a watercolour by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim.
1809 Rothschilds first deal in bullion
Dealing in gold has been associated with the Rothschild family businesses for over two hundred years.The earliest evidence of dealing in bullion is in September 1809, when the London house was dealing with Braunsberg & Co of Amsterdam and Flushing.
Rothschild gold bars.
1810 James Rothschild joins the family Partnership
In 1810 James de Rothschild, founder of the French business joined the family Partnership. Nathan Mayer Rothschild was excluded as he was in London, 'enemy territory' at the time. This original Partnership Agreement survives in the collections of The Rothschild Archive.
The Partnership Agreement of 1810.
1810 N M Rothschild established in London
Nathan Mayer Rothschild established his business in London, on St Swithin's Lane. Nathan had married Hannah Barent Cohn in 1806. In 1809, he leased premises called New Court at No.2 St Swithin's Lane, where the London Rothschild offices remain today. As his sons reached maturity and joined the firm, the name was changed to N M Rothschild & Sons.
The first New Court.
1812 Amschel Mayer Rothschild assumes control of the Frankfurt house
On the death of Mayer Amschel Rothschild in 1812, his son Amschel Mayer (1773-1855) assumed control of the Frankfurt house. In 1814 Amschel spent an uncomfortable few months in Berlin, handling subsidy payments to Britain's allies during the Napoleonic wars, and was only too pleased to return to the orthodox surroundings of the Judengasse early in 1815.
Amschel Mayer Rothschild (1773-1855).
1812 James de Rothschild establishes de Rothschild Frères
James was in Paris from the age of 19, co-ordinating the purchase of specie and bullion for his brother Nathan. He moved to France in 1811, establishing the firm that was to become de Rothschild Frères in 1812, taking up residence on the rue Laffitte in 1819. By 1823 the Paris House was firmly established as banker to the French government. The firm quickly became the trusted adviser of ministers and kings. The Paris House continued to fund many loans to European governments, but the decline in public sector borrowing led James to concentrate on new lines of business. These included the financing of raw materials trading, railway construction and manufacturing industries.
The Paris house in the rue Lafitte.
1814 The Rothschilds supply gold to Wellington
Spread out across Europe, the Rothschild brothers developed an unrivalled network of secret routes and fast couriers. In the closing years of the Napoleonic Wars, the five Rothschild brothers worked to supply gold to Wellington's army. By 1814 Wellington, advancing north across Spain, had driven the French back to the Pyrenees, but was in desperate need of money to pay his troops. Nathan Rothschild was commissioned by the British Government to supply the Duke with the necessary funds, and together with his brothers he set up a network of agents to buy up coin and transfer it to Wellington in the form of local currency. The Waterloo commission underlined the success of a business built on strong family ties and an unsurpassed communications network.
Commemorative case of coins, 1815: 'An Account of Bullion Specie' inscribed to JC Herries, Commissary-in-Chief to the Government, 1815.
1815 News of the English victory at Waterloo reaches New Court
The Rothschilds' unrivalled communications network of fast ships and fast despatch riders brought the first news to London of Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo. The first message of the victory was brought from Dunkirk by a vessel belonging to the Rothschilds and commanded by Captain Cullen, arriving at New Court about midnight. Early next morning the message was communicated to Lord Liverpool, the Prime Minister but he refused to believe it, until his own couriers arrived some hours later.
New Court c.1819.
1818 First major loan business: the Prussian Government 5% Loan
The loan issued by Nathan Rothschild for Prussia in May of 1818 is considered by many to be the true precursor of the public borrowing which transformed the international capital market in the nineteenth century. Although the five sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild had arranged many loans for sovereign governments before 1818, the Prussian 5% £5,000,000 bond issue was the first of many Government bond issues following this model, which were the mainstay of the business of NM Rothschild & Sons in London until the second world war and a significant feature of the business of the other Rothschild banking houses in Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna and Naples.
Prospectus for the 1818 Prussian loan.
1821 Salomon Rothschild arranges loans to Prince Metternich
Salomon's close ties to Metternich were crucial in earning for the family a stake in the restructuring of Europe after the Napoleonic wars. In the 1820s, Salomon arranged the first of many loans to Metternich, including one to help purchase the estate at Plass. n the 1830s Metternich dined regularly with Salomon von Rothschild at his Hotel zum Römischen Kaiser, where he admired the services of the French chef. Prince Metternich was accustomed to rely on the Rothschild courier network to ensure safe and secure delivery of his mail.
Detail of tin box holding Metternich documents.
1821 Carl Rothschild sets up in Naples
Carl the fourth Rothschild brother established a branch of the family business in Naples that was to last for forty years. Carl initially went to Naples to negotiate a Neapolitan loan, and settled there in 1821 where he established the Italian branch of the family business, C M de Rothschild & Figli. Carl had three sons, Mayer Carl, Adolphe Carl and Wilhelm Carl who were all involved in the business. Mayer Carl and Wilhelm Carl succeeded their uncle Amschel in Frankfurt and Adolphe Carl succeeded his father in Naples on his death in 1855. The venture did not survive long: Adolphe was the first member of the family to be bought out of the partnership and the Naples house closed in 1863.
Map of Naples, c.1800.
1822 The Rothschild brothers are made Barons
In 1822, the Austrian Emperor made the five brothers Barons. Nathan, in London, asked to remain "plain Mr Rothschild".A coat of arms was adopted that is still used by the family today, featuring the famous five arrows emblem, symbolic of the brothers' unity, along with the red shield, from which the family derives its name. The arms were complemented by the motto 'Concordia, Integritas, Industria'.
Baronial grant of arms to the Rothschild brothers, 1822.
1824 Bankers to Brazil: the Brazilian 5% Loan
This loan enabled Brazil to buy its independence from Portugal. In the early days of Brazil’s political independence N M Rothschild & Sons were major bankers to the Brazilian Government. n 1855 Rothschilds had become the sole agent and banker for the Brazilian Government in the UK issuing most of the government loans and later, public utility company and railway loans.
Bond for an early 19th century Brazilian loan, issued by the London bank.
1824 Alliance Assurance Company founded
Increasing numbers of merchants were becoming impatient with the high costs of insurance levied on them by the virtual cartel headed by Lloyd's and set out to form their own insurance company. Founded by Nathan Mayer Rothschild and Moses Montefiore, the Alliance grew to be the largest insurance company in the country with many members of the Rothschild family serving as directors and Chairmen over the years. Legend has it that Nathan Rothschild was moved to form the Alliance because a relative of his had failed to gain a position at another firm.
Certificate of Insurance of the Alliance Assurance Company.
1825 Rothschilds save the Bank of England
The bubble of speculating mania burst in 1825 causing a number of country banks to suspend payment, leading to a shortage of money. The Bank of England decided too late that it would relax its restrictions on discounting, and there followed a run on the Bank's reserves. The bank was sustained by a large payment by the house of Rothschild. The Times of 1 Dececember reported that "Mr Rothschild's vessel 'The Atlanta' has arrived at Falmouth from Hamburg, with specie". This was undoubtedly used in the operation to save the Bank of England from a run on its reserves. During Friday 16 December 1825, 150,000 sovereigns were paid into the Bank of England by the house of Rothschild, sustaining the Bank during a dark period.
The Bank of England.
1834 N M Rothschild appointed Bankers to the United States in Europe
N M Rothschild became Banker to the US Government in Europe, in which capacity the firm pursued the Government's claim to the legacy of James Smithson, leading to the foundation of the Smithsonian Institute. In 1843 Barings replaced Rothschilds as official bankers to the United States.
Scrip certificate for the United States 4½% Loan. In 1839, N M Rothschild & Sons and de Rothschild Frères contracted for a £900,000 loan to the US Bank. In 1872, N M Rothschild & Sons raised a $15 million bond issue for the City of New York to finance municipal improvements. Further US Government loans followed in 1873, 1875 and 1876.
1835 Rothschilds begin their involvement with Almadén
In 1835, Rothschilds acquired the rights in the Almadén quicksilver mines in Spain. Quicksilver (or mercury) was a vital component in the refining of gold and silver and was thus in great demand. For a time the Almadén concession - the biggest in the world - gave the Rothschilds a virtual world monopoly. When, in 1852, N M Rothschild & Sons began refining silver and gold for the Royal Mint and the Bank of England, their own supply of quicksilver was invaluable.
Documents relating to Quicksilver c.1845 in the collection of the Archive.
1836 Death of Nathan Mayer Rothschild: Lionel Nathan de Rothschild leads the London house
The death of Nathan left his son Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) as senior partner in the new firm N M Rothschild & Sons, which he formed with his three brothers. Business continued steadily and the list of the bank's clients grew and railway loans became a strong feature. Lionel is remembered for his assistance to the British Government in 1875, helping to secure the funds to procure the Khedive of Egypt's share in the Suez Canal.
Silhouette of Nathan Mayer Rothschild at the Royal Exchange, London.
1838 Earliest Rothschild trade with China
The first firm evidence of trading links with China dates from 1838. Trade in silks feature, alongside tin, tea, cochineal and quicksilver, as the stock in trade of an increasingly bustling corner of the globe. Following the Anglo-Chinese Treaties of 1842 and 1858, which ended the Opium Wars, Rothschilds moved to expand the Chinese links, taking on new agents - Messrs Bower Hanbury & Co - in Shanghai, one of the five ‘Treaty Ports’ now opened up by the peace agreements. Much of the correspondence with these agents focuses on silver, a key feature of Rothschilds’ trade with China at the time.
Correspondence between the London house and Jardine Matheson, 1843.
1839 Salomon von Rothschild builds Austria's first railway
Salomon funded the first major steam railway to be built in continental Europe, the Kaiser Ferdinands Nordbahn, which opened in 1839. The Nordbahn was Austria's first steam railway company. The first track was built between Floridsdorf and Deutsch Wagram in 1837. The extension to Vienna was built in 1838, and the track through Břeclav (Lundenburg) to Brünn in 1839. In 1841 it reached Přerov (Prerau) and Olomouc (Olmütz) and in 1842 Lipník nad Bečvou (Leipnik). An extension to Ostrava (Ostrau) and Bohumín (Oderberg) was finished in 1847.
Cover of a technical manual for the Kaiser Ferdinands-Nordbahn.
1841 Rothschild cousins and Ceylon tea
The Rothschilds' connection to tea can be traced back to China in the 1830s and Ceylon in the 1840s, when the London bank conducted an exchange and credit business based on, amongst other commodities, the trade in tea with China. In Ceylon, the Rothschilds' interests were reflected through the Worms brothers, nephews of Nathan Mayer Rothschild. In 1841, Gabriel and Moritz Worms, brought the first cuttings of China jat tea from China to Ceylon and planted them on what became known as the Rothschild tea estate at Pussellawa. They remained there, cultivating tea, for many years.
'Rothschild' tea - still being produced today.
1843 Salomon Rothschild buys the Witkowitz (Vítkovice) ironworks
In 1843 Salomon Rothschild 1774-1855) bought the ironworks at Witkowice (Vítkovice) , and founded the United Coal Mines of Vítkovice and Austro-Hungarian Blast Furnace Company. The wo5rks were essential powerhouses needed to fuel industrial growt; as the century progressed, the growing demand for iron and steel by the newly developing railways led to massive expansion in the production of steel. As orders increased and the workforce in the surrounding area grew, Vítkovice became a thriving industrial city.
The works at Witkowice.
1845 de Rothschild Frères finances the Nord line
In 1845, the French government awarded the contract for the first major railway line to be built in the country to James de Rothschild, who envisaged his Chemin de Fer du Nord, running initially between Paris and Valenciennes, joining with the Austrian lines built by his brother, Salomon, and developing into a pan-European rail system. The Nord's monumental Paris terminus was testament to this vision. James became a true pioneer of the European railways, constructing a complex rail network across ten countries.
The Gare du Nord, Paris terminus of the line.
1846 Rothschilds raise Irish famine relief funds
The Irish potato famine began in 1842. In December 1846, the Irish Famine Fund, co-ordinated by the British Relief Association (which was organised at New Court) raised over £500,000. In 1847, the Irish 3% Loan was contracted for by N M Rothschild & Sons and Baring Brothers. The loan was to raise £8million for the supply of food to Ireland during the famine.
A contemporary engraving of the plight of Irish famine victims, c.1846.
1848 Anslem Salomon von Rothschild takes over the Viennese house
With the self-imposed withdrawal from the business of Salomon Mayer Rothschild from 1848, his son Anslem took over the Viennese house. Anselm Salomon von Rothschild (1803-1874) was the first of his generation to be enlisted into the ranks of the Rothschild family firm. His general education in Berlin university was brought to a fairly swift conclusion so that he might focus his mind more closely on matters of business. Anselm's introduction to business was in Paris, where he served as his uncle James's apprentice. He entered the family partnership in Frankfurt and married into the English House in 1826, taking as his bride Charlotte, the oldest daughter of Nathan. His father's Viennese House came under his complete control after the upheavals of 1848.
Ansem Salomon von Rothschild (1803-1874).
1849 Gold in California: establishment of a Rothschild agency in San Francisco
The discovery of gold in California in 1848 had awakened Rothschild interest and in 1849 N M Rothschild established an agency in San Francisco, in the persons of two Rothschild agents, Benjamin Davidson and John May. The connection persisted until the impact of the gold rush had diminished.
Advice published to fortune-hunters in the Californian gold rush, c.1849
1850 The London bank uses the new communcations services of Reuters
The London bank can trace its links to Reuters back to 1850 when the London bank used Reuter's carrier pigeons and telegraph system. Paul Julius Reuter was a Berlin publisher and he developed a prototype news service in 1849 in which he used carrier pigeons and electric telegraphy. Within months, Reuter had moved to London and set up in offices only two minutes from St Swithin’s Lane, and his company initially covered commercial news, serving banks, brokerage houses, and business firms. In 1850 Reuter approached the Rothschilds, seeking them as a client for his services. N M Rothschild & Sons became early patrons of the telegraph, using it to speed information across Europe, sending coded messages to and from their agents and businesses around the world.
Telegraphic codes used by the London house.
1851 Mayer Rothschild builds Mentmore Towers
Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire was designed for Mayer de Rothschild (1818-1874) as a country home, display case for his collection of fine art and as an assertion of status. In 1850 Mayer bought the Manor of Mentmore for £12,400. In 1851 he commissioned Joseph Paxton and Henry Stokes to build him a great house. The resulting plans, Jacobean in style, incorporated a huge central grand hall with glazed roof, plate-glass windows and central heating. Mentmore stands four-square on a slight rise with towers at each corner, and is the largest of the English Rothschild houses. Mentmore was the first of what was to become a Rothschild enclave in the Vale of Aylesbury, as later, other members of the family built houses at Tring, Ascott, Aston Clinton, Waddesdon and Halton.
Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire, the seat of Mayer de Rothschild (1818-1874).
1852 Foundation of the Hôpital Fondation de Rothschild, Paris
Brought up in the Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt,the Rothschild brothers were imbued with a strong sense of the tradition of Zedaka, which places expectations on members of the community to work for social justice by offering material support for those in need. The Hôpital Fondation de Rothschild as established in the rue Picpus in Paris in 1852 by Baron James de Rothschild (1792-1868).
Notice of the departments of the Hôpital Fondation de Rothschild c.1919.
1852 Advisers to Royalty
The London house offered discreet financial advice to a number of private clients, many of whom were personal friends. Rothschild had supplied the chocolate for the breakfast table of Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent in the 1820s, and Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) acted as a private financial advisor to Prince Albert. During holiday visit to the Scottish Highlands, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert grew to love the scenery and people and decided to buy a private home there for private holiday periods. Balmoral Castle and the original estate were purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852, with a loan from Rothschild. Both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert made regular use of the Rothschild courier service for their overseas correspondence, a service which the Queen described as ‘perfectly safe and very quick’.
Private account ledgers.
1852 Acquisition of the San Rafael Ironworks
As a result of many business failures in Mexico, the Rothschilds acquired this ironworks with the support of their agent, Nathaniel Davidson. The business was later to prove useful to the family, as their ambitions as builders and operators of railways grew. The family retained the business until 1879.
Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1808-1870), Senior Partner of the London bank in the 1850s.
1852 Establishment of the Royal Mint Refinery
The acquisition of the Refinery by Sir Anthony de Rothschild (1810-1876) in 1852 was an important step in the plan to make Rothschilds a leader in the London bullion trade. The opportunity to gain control of the refining process came in 1848, when a Report of the Royal Commission on the efficiency of the Royal Mint recommended the separation of refining and coin-striking processes. The refinery was then offered on a leasehold basis to private parties. Over the next hundred years, the refinery would produce gold bullion, later diversifying into the production of copper wire and decorative products, and producing munitions in two world wars.
Casting gold bars at the Royal Mint Refinery in the 1930s.
1853 James de Rothschild builds Château de Ferrières
Château de Ferrières, Seine-et-Marne was built between 1853 and 1859 by James Rothschild to the design of Joseph Paxton, who had built Mayer Rothschild's house at Mentmore. On seeing Mentmore Towers, Baron James is reputed to have summoned Paxton and ordered "Build me a Mentmore, but twice the size". Ferrières was built in the Neo-Renaissance style with square towers at each corner. There was accommodation for one hundred servants and stables for 80 horses. Ferrières was inaugurated 16 December 1862 with a gala attended by Napoleon III. The last of the family to own Ferrières was Guy de Rothschild, and Guy and his wife, Marie-Hélène, restored it and hosted several grand balls. In 1975 they gave Ferrières to the University of Paris.
Château de Ferrières, Seine-et-Marne.
1853 Nathaniel de Rothschild buys Château Brane Mouton
Nathaniel de Rothschild (1812-1870) married his French cousin Charlotte. He purchased Château Brane Mouton, a vineyard bordering that of Château Lafite, in the parish of Pauillac and the district of Médoc in Bordeaux. He renamed the estate Château Mouton Rothschild.After Nathaniel died in 1870, Mouton was left largely unattended until 1922 when his great-grandson, Philippe, took an interest. Under his inspired and imaginative guidance, Mouton was rejuvenated and taken to greater heights. His bold marketing initiatives, most famously the annual commission to a leading artist to produce an image for the wine labels of Mouton, gave the estate an international standing. In 1973, after a hard-fought campaign Philippe won grand cru status for Château Mouton Rothschild, the first new label to be added to the ranks of the grands crus since the appelation system was set up in 1855. Until her death in August 2014, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild presided over Mouton.
A bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild.
1855 Mayer Carl and Wilhelm Carl become joint partners in the Frankfurt house
On the death of Amschel Mayer Rothschild, his nephews Mayer Carl and Wilhelm Carl became joint partners in the Frankfurt house.The Frankfurt bank was located at 146, Fahrgasse. Amschel Mayer Rothschild died childless, and when he died in 1855, his nephews Mayer Carl (1820-1866) and Wilhelm Carl (1828-1901), sons of his younger brother Carl Mayer (1788-1855) took control of the Frankfurt business, M A von Rothschild & Söhne. By 1901, and the death of the bank’s last remaining partner, Wilhelm Carl, Frankfurt was no longer a significant financial centre. No family members in London, Paris or Vienna wished to move to the Prussian city, and the decision was taken to liquidate the House.
The Frankfurt bank was located at 146, Fahrgasse.
1857 The American Banking Crisis
The American Panic of 1857 was a financial panic caused by the declining international economy and over-expansion of the domestic economy, and is widely seen as the first world-wide economic crisis. The London house of Rothschild recorded a large loss, with their joint Belmont account.
American Department ledgers of the London house.
1857 Adolphe de Rothschild builds Château de Pregny
Adolphe de Rothschild (1823-1900) bought Prégny near Lake Geneva in 1857. The third of the great 'Paxton' houses built for the Rothschilds was the Château de Prégny. The château was unusal in Geneva at the time, and marked the appearance of more ostentatious and eclectic private houses. The main entrance was highly decorative, while the façade on to the lake was softened by a central bowed bay. Adolphe commissioned Paxton and Stokes to design the house as well as the conservatories, a Paxton speciality. These were the pride and joy of Julie, Adolphe’s wife, who filled them with espalier fruit trees. The house passed in 1907 to Maurice, Adolphe’s cousin. The property remains in family ownership.
Château de Prégny, Geneva.
1858 Lionel de Rothschild takes his seat in Parliament
Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) was elected to the parliamentary seat for the City of London in 1847. Despite his election, Lionel was required, before entering the House of Commons, to take an oath, "in the true faith of a Christian". As a Jew, he refused. For eleven years his seat remained empty, until 1858 when the law changed so that MPs could choose between swearing on the Old or the New Testament.
Lionel Nathan de Rothschild introduced in the House of Commons on 26 July 1858 by Lord John Russell and Mr Abel Smith, by Henry Barraud.
1860 First rebuilding of New Court
By the 1860s, N M Rothschild & Sons was at the peak of its powers. The Partners agreed that it was time for a new building, reflecting the firm's position in the world. Between 1860 and 1865 New Court was rebuilt in the style of a grand Italian ‘palazzo’ to the design of Thomas Marsh Nelson. The frontage was increased to 100 feet and the rent to £1,000 per annum. The domestic feel of the old building was swept aside in favour of something more imposing and businesslike, in a style which echoed the palazzi of the great Italian banks. The second New Court survived for almost exactly a century.
Plans of the second New Court. "New Court...seems to me quite marvellous, and intended for magnificent business” Charlotte, Baroness Lionel de Rothschild, 1865.
1863 Closure of the Naples business
The unification of the kingdoms of Italy in 1860 saw the diminution of influence of Naples, and the maintenance of a Rothschild House in the city was no longer viable. At a family meeting in Paris in September 1863, the affairs of the Naples house were wound up, and the accounts settled.
A painting of the Villa Pignatelli alla Riviera di Chaia, Naples, residence of the Naples Rothschild family.
1868 James de Rothschild buys Château Lafite
As early as 1830, James had made an offer on the estate but the proprietors were unwilling to sell. In fact, James had to wait until July 1868 before Lafite came up for auction again. James was a connoisseur of good wine and equally attracted by the prospect of acquiring a top Médoc estate as an investment. However, James died on 15 November, never having set foot on the property. Today Château Lafite is under the control of Baron Eric de Rothschild.
1971 Lafite wine label.
1868 Alphonse de Rothschild assumes control of the Paris house
James de Rothschild died in 1868, and his son Alphonse took control of the business. Alphonse married his cousin Leonora at Nathan Rothschild's English estate at Gunnersbury on 4 March 1857. Alphonse was educated to take his place at the head of de Rothschild Frères, and spent time in the other Rothschild houses in Europe, learning his 'trade'. In 1848, he was sent to the United States, from where he sent back enthusiastic reports about the prospects for a Rothschild House in that country. It was not to be. Alphonse led the handling of France's war indemnity in the wake of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, and inherited Ferrières on the death of his father in 1868.
Mayer Alphonse de Rothschild (1827-1905).
1869 Opening of the Evelina Hospital, London
On Tuesday 15 June 1869, the Evelina Hospital for the Care of Sick Children was opened. The Hospital had been founded by Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898), in memory of his wife Evelina (1839-1866), who had died tragically in childbirth, leaving Ferdinand devastated. The hospital became part of the NHS in 1946, and was completely rebuilt between 2002 and 2004. The Rothschild family continues to be associated with the hospital.
Evelina de Rothschild (1839-1866).
1869 Alfred de Rothschild appointed as a Director of the Bank of England
Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918) made his home at 1 Seamore Place and Halton House in the country. He was the first Jew to be appointed a Director of the Bank of England. Alfred's wide social circle supplied a long list of private clients, including the opera singers Nelly Melba, Adelina Patti, the composer Arthur Sullivan and the actor Henry Irving. He was a trustee of the National Gallery, and a founder trustee of the Wallace Collection. He took on the Gaiety Theatre when it ran into financial difficulties and managed it successfully in its great years. Alfred liked to move in diplomatic circles, and arranged numerous meetings to promote Anglo-German relations.
Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918).
1870 Foundation of the Hôpital Rothschild, Berck Plage-sur-mer
The hospital at Berck-sur-mer, on the north coast of France was founded in 1870 by Nathan James Edouard de Rothschild (1844-1881) by the coast, where patients could benefit from the sea air. His wife Laura Thérèse de Rothschild (1847-1931), took a close personal interest in the hospital.
Hôpital Rothschild, Berck Plage c.1910.
1871 'The Baron's Year': pre-eminence on the turf
The English Rothschilds began to own and compete race horses from the late 1830s. It was the youngest of Nathan’s sons, Mayer Amschel (1818-1874), who became an avid racing enthusiast. In 1843 he registered the Rothschild racing colours of dark blue and yellow, and began to train his horses under John Scott at Russley Park in Berkshire. Mayer also began to breed horses, establishing a stud farm at Crafton, near his country estate of Mentmore. Considerable success followed. In 1871 Mayer’s horses won four of the five classic races. His mare Hannah won the Oaks, the Thousand Guineas and the St Leger, and Favonius won the Derby. It famously became known as ‘The Baron’s Year.'
'Hannah' owned by Baron Mayer de Rothschild.
1872 The first Channel Tunnel project begins
The Channel Tunnel Society was formed in England in 1872. Tunnelling began from near Dover to a point near Calais. Capital was raised by a share issue entrusted to N M Rothschild & Sons. A French tunnel society was founded in 1875, with half of its capital subscribed by the Rothschild-owned Compagnie du Chemin de Fer du Nord. 6,000 feet of tunnel had been excavated by 1883 when the British government, convinced of the tunnel's threat to Britain's defence, stopped the project.
Engraving of the first Channel tunnel works.
1873 The Rothschilds become shareholders in Rio Tinto
In 1873, the loss making Rio Tinto copper mines were acquired by foreign financiers, including the Rothschilds. The mines, Europe's largest source of copper, had belonged to the Spanish government since ore had first been discovered in the area. Investing heavily in new facilities for the transport of ore, the new owners began to realise a profit and, by 1905, Rothschilds' London and Paris houses held over 30 percent of Rio Tinto shares.
Letterhead of the Rio Tinto Company Limited.
1874 Salomon Albert Anselm takes over the Viennese house
Anselm Salomon von Rothschild died in 1874, and his son Salomon Albert Anselm took control of the business. Salomon Albert married his cousin Bettina on 22 March 1876. Albert served a Rothschild apprenticeship. His father, Anselm, wrote to Lionel in London, "I am glad to hear that you are satisfied with my son Albert who indeed is very steady and fond of business" Under Albert, S M von Rothschild & Söhne became banker-in-chief to the Austrian government and the family's industrial holdings were increased through the investments of the Creditanstalt. In 1881 he converted the 6% Gold Loan to Hungary.
Salomon Albert Anselm von Rothschild (1844-1911).
1875 Foundation of the Clementine Hospital, Frankfurt
The Rothschild family established and supported many medical, cultural and social foundations in their home town of Frankfurt. The Clementine Hospital was founded by Louise von Rothschild (1820-1894). Few of the social foundations established by the Rothschilds in Frankfurt survived the crises of the 1930s and 1940s but The Clementine Children's Hospital is a notable exception. The foundation, initially known as the Clementine-Mädchen-Spital, provided free medical care for girls of all denominations between the ages of 5 and 15. The hospital was later taken over by the German women’s section of the Red Cross. The hospital was totally destroyed by bombing in 1943. In 1974 it was merged with the Dr Christ Foundation, but it retains its own identity.
Louise von Rothschild (1820-1894).
1875 N M Rothschild & Sons funds the Suez purchase
Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879) speedily raised the funding for the British Government to acquire a major interest in the Suez Canal. The money, some £4 million, was advanced by Lionel at the request of his friend, Prime Minister Disraeli. The canal was vital to British interests in the area and allowed Prime Minister Disraeli to declare, famously, to Queen Victoria, "You have it, Madam". The 1875 deal was one of the London bank's most celebrated transactions, underscoring the bank's reliability, discretion and solidity.
Receipt from the Treasury for the repayment of the first instalment of the 'Suez' loan 9th March 1876.
1879 Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild becomes Senior Partner
Nathaniel Mayer de Rothschild (1840-1915), known as 'Natty' took over the senior partnership of the London House from his father who died in 1879. Under Natty, the bank made 70 loans, and was instrumental in establishing the Exploration Company to exploit new mining opportunities in the New World. Natty held honorary positions in virtually every institution of Anglo-Jewry. He showed a particular interest in housing in the East End of London, through the 4% Industrial Dwellings Company. Like his father, Natty was an MP, and he became the first Jewish peer in 1885, retaining his own name in his new title - Lord Rothschild of Tring.
Nathaniel Mayer, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915).
1881 The French Rothschilds co-found the mining company, Peñarroya
Mining was just one of the French Rothschilds' considerable raw material interests. The French mining company, Société minière et métallurgique de Peñarroya was founded in part by the French Rothschilds (together with the coal and metallurgical company Bélmez) in 1881. Like many large companies of the nineteenth century, it combined metallurgy, coal and railways, initially exploiting lead ore and zinc resources in Spain. By 1950, the turnover of Peñarroya matched that of Rio Tinto, and in the 1960s, the company diversified into the extraction and processing of other minerals and metals.
Peñarroya advertisement, 1950s.
1882 The Bengal and North Western Railway Loan
During the later half of the nineteenth century N M Rothschild and Sons issued an number of loans to build railways across the indian sub-continent. The Bengal and North Western Railway Company Limited 4% loan, for £2.2 million was issued in 1882, in conjunection with Barings. A similar loan had been successfully issued in 1881 for The Bengal Central Railway Company. A further large issue was handled in 1887, this time for the Bengal and Nagpur Railway Company Limited, for £3 million, equivalent to over £3,700,000,000 in 2014.
Map that accompanied the prospectus for The Bengal and North Western Railway Company Limited 4% loan of 1882.
1883 The French Rothschilds establish the mining company, Société Le Nickel
In 1883, the French Rothschild family bought the company Société Le Nickel, which had been founded in May 1880 for the exploitation of nickel mines in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Société Le Nickel grew out of the consolidation of two companies for the processing of nickel: that of the British adventurer and industrial entrepreneur John Higginson, and Henry Marbeau and Jules Garnier (a mining engineer who discovered nickel ore in New Caledonia in 1864), and who had set up a foundry in Septèmes in Bouches-du-Rhône. The depression of the 1930s greatly affected the sector and in 1931, Société Le Nickel merged with its main competitor, the Society of Blast Furnaces Noumea (Noumea being the capital of New Caledonia) which had been founded in 1909 by the Bordeaux businessman André Ballande.
Postcard of New Caledonia in the South Pacific.
1884 Ferdinand de Rothschild entertains at Waddesdon Manor
Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898) opened the magnificent manison at Waddesdon in 1884, where he entertained lavishly, but alone; tragically his young wife Evelina had died in childbirth in 1866. The house was opened in 1884. Many of the furnishings and pictures were from 18th century Parisian interiors, but Ferdinand staged these successfully with English portraits and Dutch masters. Queen Victoria who spent a day at Waddesdon in 1890 was delighted with the house. After his death in 1898, the estate passed to Ferdinand’s sister Alice and then in 1922 to her nephew, James, who bequeathed the house to the National Trust in 1957.
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire.
1885 Nathaniel Rothschild created the first Jewish peer
Natty took over the senior partnership of the London House from his father who died in 1879. Under Natty, the bank made 70 loans, and was instrumental in establishing the Exploration Company to exploit new mining opportunities in the New World. Like his father, Nathaniel Mayer de Rothschild (1840-1915, known as 'Natty' was an MP, gaining Aylesbury for the Liberals in 1865. A baronet in succession to his uncle Anthony from 1876, Natty became the first Jewish peer in 1885, becoming Lord Rothschild of Tring.
Nathaniel Mayer, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915).
1885 Creation of the Four Percent Industrial Dwellings Company Ltd
The Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company Ltd was founded by Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915) and a board of prominent Jewish philanthropists including Frederick Mocatta and Samuel Montagu, to provide "the industrial classes with commodious and healthy Dwellings at a minimum rent". The company was founded as a private capital concern, with capital of £50,000 in 5000 shares of £10 each. The Company's first project was in Flower and Dean Street, Spitalfields, and was known as Charlotte de Rothschild Buildings, after Lord Rothschild's mother. By 1905, the company had built six large blocks, known as 'Rothschild houses' comprising around 1,500 flats, or 3,800 rooms.
The Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company buildings, East End of London.
1886 Formation of The Exploration Company
The Exploration Company was formed in 1886 as a limited investment fund specialising in overseas mining ventures and providing technical expertise and capital. The Company brought together the capital of Natty, 1st Lord Rothschild and the mining expertise of two American consulting mining engineers, Hamilton Smith and Edmund de Crano. It operated from St Swithin’s Lane and by 1896 had become the strongest institution of its kind in the world.
Prospectus for shares in The Exploration Company.
1886 N M Rothschild & Sons arrange finance for the Manchester Ship Canal
The Manchester Ship Canal opened in 1894, one of the last major canals to be constructed in Britain. It stretches for 36 miles from Eastham, on the Mersey estuary 6 miles from Liverpool, almost to the centre of Manchester. In 1886, The Canal Company turned to Rothschilds to raise its finance. Three loans were arranged between 1886 and 1889, totalling over £12 million, enabling the first work on the Canal to be started in 1887, and the opening by Queen Victoria to take place on 17 May 1894. Over one hundred years later, Rothschild advised Peel Holdings on its purchase of a majority interest in the canal.
Map from the prospectus for the 1886 Manchester Ship Canal Company loan.
1886 de Rothschild Frères develops interests in Russian oil
In 1886, the French Rothschild bank, de Rothschild Frères, began to develop substantial interests in the Russian oil fields.The bank formed the Caspian and Black Sea Petroleum Company, which rapidly became the region's second largest oil producer. By 1906, increasing competition from the American giant, Standard Oil, and growing instability in the region persuaded Rothschilds to sell their interests to Royal Dutch and Shell in 1912.
Oil production in Baku.
1887 Rothschilds finance the establishment of De Beers
In 1870, diamonds were discovered near the South African town of Kimberley and a huge wave of adventurers descended on the area. A mass of claims were registered by small operators, who lacked the capital and expertise necessary to develop them. Natty, 1st Lord Rothschild decided that commercial success would only be possible by amalgamating several of the small concerns. Through their major holding in the Anglo-African Diamond Mining Company Limited the Rothschilds participated in the buying out of smaller claim holders, culminating in a battle between the Barnato Diamond Mining Company and De Beers, under the leadership of Cecil Rhodes. Rhodes asked Rothschilds for financial backing. De Beers eventually amalgamated with Barnato and became De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited in 1889.
Kimberley mine, 1875.
1889 Burma Ruby Mines Limited share issue
Floated under the auspices of N M Rothschild & Sons and the Exploration Company, this was a very succesful share issue. Such was the public confidence in N M Rothschild & Sons that a veritable mob of prospective investors gathered outside the bank's offices in St Swithin's Lane when the prospectus was published on 26 February. The throng of would be subscribers grew so large that Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild, Senior Partner of the firm reputedly had to climb up a ladder to get into the bank, and the shares went to a 300 per cent premium.
Prospectus for the Burma Ruby Mines share issue, 1889.
1890 Walter, 2nd Lord Rothschild creates his natural history museum
Lionel Walter, 2nd Lord Rothschild (1868-1937) was destined to be famed as a zoologist and collector rather than a banker. When he was 21, his father built him a museum in the grounds of the family estate at Tring Park to house his collection of specimens. His interest in natural history began when he was a child, collecting butterflies. Walter collected many thousands of mounted animals, and kept an astonishing variety of live animals in the grounds of Tring Park, famously using zebras to draw his carriage. Numerous species and sub-species of animals were named after him. From Tring, he issued 'Novitates Zoologicae', and published scores of scientific papers. In 1937, the Rothschild family gifted the entire Museum and its collections to the nation. It is now known as the Natural History Museum at Tring.
Inside Walter Rothschild's museum at Tring.
1890 The Baring Crisis
The Baring crisis of 1890 was a sovereign debt crisis, precipitated by the near insolvency of Barings Bank in London due mainly to excessive risk-taking on poor investments in Argentina. An international consortium assembled by William Lidderdale, governor of the Bank of England, including Rothschilds and most of the other major London banks, created a fund to guarantee Barings debts, thereby averting a larger depression.
John Baring (1863-1929).
1892 South African Republic (Transvaal) 5% Loan for public works
N M Rothschild & Sons issued the South African Republic (Transvaal) 5 per cent Government Loan of £2.5 million, for the purpose of repaying certain advances previously obtained by the Government, and for the construction of railways and other public works.The Rothschild family’s business interests on the African continent began in the 1880s when they financed the De Beers diamond mining enterprise.
Detail of the bond for the South African Republic (Transvaal) 5 per cent Government Loan of 1892.
1896 Burma Railway Loan
Rail transport was first introduced in Burma (now Myanmar) in May 1877. In 1884, The Sittang Valley State Railway, opened a 166-mile (267 km) line along the Sittaung River from Yangon to the town of Taungoo via Bago. In 1896, N M Rothschild & Sons issued a £2 million loan for the Burma Railways Company to enable a branch line to be constructed between Mandalay and Kunlon.
Map from the prosepctus for the Burma Railways Company loan of 1896.
1897 The Pekin Syndicate
he commitment of N M Rothschild & Sons to developing trade with China was confirmed when the Bank joined the Pekin Syndicate, set up in London in 1897 to increase business links with China. The syndicate was chaired by a former senior clerk of Rothschilds, himself a distinguished banker, Carl Meyer.
Chinese Railway map from papers in The Rothshcild Archive concerning agreements for the formation of 'the British Group’ a group of bankers interested in the joint undertaking of Chinese Loan business.
1900 Establishment of the Rhodes Scholarships
The Rothschilds first became associated with Rhodes in 1887, during his struggle with Barnato for control of the diamond industry in South Africa. ecil Rhodes died in 1900. Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild was one of Rhodes executors, and was primarily responsible for using the fortune Rhodes left to establish the Rhodes Scholarships in his memory.
Postcard depicting the rear view of Groote Schuur, Rondebosch, Rhodes estate in Cape Town, c.1905.
1901 Closure of the Frankfurt Bank
On the death of Mayer Amschel Rothschild in 1812, his eldest son, Amschel Mayer, succeeded as head of the bank. As he died childless, the sons of his brothers (Anselm, son of Salomon, and Mayer Carl and Wilhelm Carl, sons of Carl) assumed responsibility for the business from 1855. Wilhelm Carl died in 1901, leaving no male heir, and the Frankfurt house was liquidated, the remaining business being transferred to the Disconto Gesellschaft of Berlin, which established a Frankfurt office in order to handle its new business. Regrettably, very few business papers from the Frankfurt house survive.
The Frankfurt banking house, 146, Fahrgasse.
1902 An 'entertaining' client list
Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918) was a patron of the arts and many of his friends in the entertainment world became clients of the family firm. When Alfred, became a partner, many of Rothschild’s private clients were drawn from his social circle: the opera singers Nelly Melba and Adelina Patti, the actor-manager Henry Irving, and the composer Arthur Sullivan to name a few. Dame Nellie Melba’s biographer suggests that her "income from investments made on [Alfred's] advice eventually made the money she earned from singing a comparatively minor matter." Alfred would also entertain lavishly at his country residence at Halton in Buckinghamshire, where he would conduct his personal orchestra with a diamond-tipped baton.
The Salon, Halton House, Alfred de Rothschild's country estate.
1904 St Amant wins the Derby
Leopold de Rothschild (1845-1917) had become a keen race-goer during his college days at Cambridge, with regular trips to Newmarket. Leopold inherited Palace House in Newmarket which became his spiritual home. In 1879, he registered the Rothschild colours in his name and had his first victory when his horse Sir Bevys won the Epsom Derby. Leopold was to win the Derby for a second time in 1904 with St Amant. The event was memorable for the terrific thunderstorm which took place during the race. In a career spanning thirty-eight years, the only classics which eluded Leopold were the Thousand Guineas and the Oaks.
St Amant, winner of the 1904 Derby, owned by Leopold de Rothschild (1845-1917).
1905 Béatrice Ephrussi builds the villa Ile-de-France
With the development of the railway, the French Riviera had become popular with European high society, and between 1905 and 1912, Béatrice Ephrussi (née de Rothschild) (1864-1934) created the elegant villa Ile-de-France.Aaron Messiah, a local architect worked closely with Béatrice to produce a partly Italianate, partly Spanish villa with a pink and white façade and red pantiles. Each room was arranged specifically to show off her collection of objets d’art to their best advantage. The gardens surrounding the house were particularly beautiful, and were laid in varying styles to include a Spanish, Florentine, stone, Japanese, English and French garden. However, the overall effect was more of a museum than a domestic house, and Béatrice rarely lived there. When Béatrice died in 1934, she left the house complete with contents and gardens to the Académie des Beaux-Arts.
The impressive villa Ile-de-France.
1905 Edouard Alphonse de Rothschild takes control of de Rothschild Frères
Alphonse de Rothschild died in 1905, and his son Edouard Alphonse (1868-1949) took control of the business. Surviving a youthful duel, which he fought to combat anti-Semitic insults, Edouard and his younger cousin, Robert (1880-1946), directed the affairs of the Paris House. He was a director of the Bank of France and was closely involved with the administration of the family's railway interests. Edouard and his family reached the safety of the USA in 1940. He returned to France after the war to piece together the bank's affairs, assemble his own art collections and to try to restore his stud to its former glory.
Edouard Alphonse de Rothschild (1868-1949).
1905 The Fondation Opthalmologique Adolphe de Rothschild opens in Paris
The Fondation Ophtalmologique Adolphe de Rothschild was opened in Paris in 1905 by Adolphe’s widow Caroline (1830-1907). Adolphe (1823-1900) had received treatment for an eye injury and had established a similar clinic in Geneva. Over 80,000 consultations were conducted in the first year. After the First World War, the hospital had departments of neurology, radiology, cardiology, and neuro-surgery. The hospital survived the Second World War and continued to be supported by the Rothschild family, and today provides state-of-the-art care and services.
The Fondation Ophtalmologique Adolphe de Rothschild.
1907 Lionel de Rothschild wins 'La perla del Mediterraneo’
Lionel de Rothschild's private passions were horticulture, cars and boats.The ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’ was a speed boat race of 10 laps of 10km each that took place in the waters of Mondello, Addaura and Acquasanta, Italy on 28th April 1907. Attracting aristocrats and wealthy sportsmen, competitors paid an entrance fee of L.100 for admission to the race, the prize of which was the coveted Lalique plaque in gold, enamel and pearl. Watched by hundreds of spectators from the hotels and terraces of Palermo, the race took place on a fine spring day. With clear skies and calm waters, Lionel’s boat, Number 4, 'The Flying Fish' led for all 10 laps recording a total time of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 50 seconds at an average of 560 Km/h.
The ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’ trophy by Lalique, won by Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942) in 1907.
1907 Loans to Japan
The Japanese sent their first trade mission to England in 1862. They visited New Court and were seen by Lionel de Rothschild (1808-1879). In 1903, Charles de Rothschild (1877-1923), while a young partner in the Bank, visited Japan in pursuit of his hobby, the collecting of butterflies, and was deeply impressed by the country. In 1905, in the wake of Japan’s victory in its war with Russia, the London house led a syndicate to issue a £25 million 4% Sterling loan to the Imperial Japanese Government, followed by further loans by the London and Paris Rothschild banks in 1907, 1910, 1913 and in the 1920s.
Bond certificate for the 1905 Imperial Japanese loan.
1908 Birth of Miriam Rothschild
The scientist, zoologist and entomologist, Miriam Rothschild (1908-2005) was born at Ashton Wold, near Oundle in Northamptonshire, the daughter of Charles Rothschild and Rozsika Edle Rothschild (née von Wertheimstein). By the age of four Miriam had started collecting insects. Educated at home until the age of 17, she then attended evening classes in zoology at Chelsea College of Science and Technology. During the 1930s she made a name for herself at the Marine Biological Station in Plymouth. During the war, she worked at Bletchley Park on codebreaking. Miriam wrote over 350 papers on entomology, zoology and other subjects. She was made a Dame in 2000.
Bookplate of Miriam Rothschild by Eric Gill.
1908 Lionel de Rothschild experiments with autochromes
Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942) was an ardent exponent of the autochrome, an early form of colour photography, made using glass plates. Between 1908 and 1912, he took many autochromes, both in England and at family residences in France and on trips abroad on his yacht. The resulting images have a delicate, magical quality. In 2001, Mr Edmund de Rothschild, Lionel's son, deposited his father's collection of over 700 autochromes together with photographic equipment with The Rothschild Archive.
Autochrome of the Small Mansion, Gunnersbury Park.
1910 Birth of Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild
Nathaniel Mayer Victor Rothschild (1910-1990) became the third Lord Rothschild in 1937 on the death of his uncle, Walter. He attended Harrow and Trinity College Cambridge, where he worked in the Zoology Department before gaining a PhD in 1935. For his work on fertilization, he gained a DSc in 1950 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1953. In 1948, he chaired the Agricultural Research Council. During the Second World War, Victor worked for the Intelligence Service and then in 1961 he began work for Shell Research Ltd., becoming chairman from 1963 until his retirement in 1970. In 1981 he established Biotechnology Investments Limited. From 1971 to 1974 he was the first Director General of the Central Policy Review Staff. From 1975 to 1976 Victor chaired N M Rothschild and Sons Limited and remained active in the firm until his death in 1990. He is buried at United Synagogue Cemetary, Brady Street, Stepney alongside his ancestor Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836).
(Nathaniel Mayer) Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild (1910-1990).
1911 Lord Rothschild declines to insure The 'Titanic'
In 1911, the Rothschild directed firm, the Alliance Assurance Company refused to insure the liner' Titanic', Lord Rothschild claiming it was "too big to float". The 'Titanic' was the White Star Line passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg. The largest ship afloat at the time she entered service, she carried 2,224 passengers and crew. The sinking of Titanic caused the deaths of more than 1,500 people in one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in modern history.
1911 The three Rothschild sons manage the Vienna bank
On Albert's death in 1911, Louis von Rothschild (1882-1955) found himself managing the family firm in Vienna, with his two brothers Alphonse (1878-1942) and Eugène (1884-1976). Louis, shown here, was educated at the Theresianum Academy, before embarking on a banking apprenticeship in Hamburg and New York. Under the three brothers, the business continued to play an active role in the Witkowitz iron works and the Florisdorf Engineering works. Louis brazened out the machinations of the Nazis in Austria, but he was arrested after the Anschluß and spent a year in prison, refusing to hand over Witkowitz, the price of his freedom. On his eventual release in July 1939, Louis headed for the USA. The family took the decision not to re-establish the Vienna business after the war.
Louis von Rothschild (1882-1955).
1912 The Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves survey
Between 1912 and 1915, The Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves, founded by the banker and naturalist Charles Rothschild (1877-1923) conducted a comprehensive survey of natural habitats, one of the first ever such surveys in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The resultant documentation for 284 sites (which were to become The Rothschild Reserves) was stored in Rothschild Bank blue envelopes. The Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves evolved into today's Wildlife Trusts.
Original documents from The Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves survey, 1912-1915.
1914 The Aston Clinton Hill Climb
Aston Hill on the Tring Park estate of Nathaniel Mayer, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915) was a renowned venue for early motoring events, such as the Aston Hill Climb. Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford were early racers at Aston Clinton, and had set up a small business selling and servicing cars in west London in 1913. Lionel Martin made his first ascent of the hill in a tuned Singer on 4th, April, 1914. Bamford’s early departure from the partnership left Martin with the need for a new name for his first car, created by fitting a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine to the chassis of a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini. His success, achieved at the Aston Clinton Hill Climb course in the prototype car provided the ideal name, and thus the marque of Aston-Martin was born.
Early racing on Aston Hill.
1915 New Court and the First World War
Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942), established a Central Jewish Recruiting Committee at New Court in 1915, accepting recruits at New Court for the Royal Bucks Hussars and the Bucks Battalion. Tragically, Lionel's de Rothschild's brother, Evelyn (1886-1917), was killed in the Palestine Campaign in 1917. His cousin Neil Primrose, (son of Hannah Rothschild who had married the 5th Earl of Rosebery) was also killed in action in 1917. Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918), fearful of zeppelin attacks, had shelters built at New Court, and offered the trees at his estate at Halton for the war effort.
New Court c.1920.
1915 Alfred de Rothschild becomes Senior Partner
Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild died in 1915. His brother Alfred (1842-1918) succeeded him as Senior Partner. Alfred was the first Jew to be elected a director of the Bank of England. His wide social circle supplied a long list of private clients, including many from the world of entertainment. Alfred liked to move in diplomatic circles, and arranged numerous meetings to promote Anglo-German relations. In the same year, Charles Rothschild (1877-1923) and his cousin Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1882-1942) became Partners in N M Rothschild & Sons. The bank benefited from Charles' practical and systematic approach to the organisation of the firm.
Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918).
1917 The Balfour Declaration
The Balfour Declaration was a letter from the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lionel Walter, 2nd Lord Rothschild, in his capacity as unofficial leader of the British Jewish community. The letter concerned the favourability by the Government of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. The Balfour agreement became the diplomatic foundation stone of the state of Israel.
The Balfour Declaration, 1917.
1917 Evelyn de Rothschild and Anthony de Rothschild become Partners
The brothers of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, Evelyn Achille de Rothschild (1886-1917), and Anthony Gustav de Rothschild (1887-1961) become Partners of N M Rothschild & Sons. Tragically, Evelyn Achille de Rothschild, a captain in the Bucks Yeomanry, was killed in the Palestine Campaign in 1917. His cousin Neil Primrose, (son of Hannah Rothschild who had married the 5th Earl of Rosebery in 1878) was also killed in action in 1917. Anthony would lead the bank during the Second World War.
Evelyn Achille de Rothschild (1886-1917).
1918 Charles Rothschild, scientist and organiser, becomes Senior Partner
On the death of his uncle Alfred in 1918, Charles (1877-1923) took over the Senior Partner's desk at New Court. Charles married Rozsika von Wertheimstein in 1907, and became particularly attached to Hungary, her country and the place they had met when he was hunting butterflies. They had had four children, 'Liberty, 'Nica' (later famous as 'The Jazz Baroness') and Miriam and Victor, both distinguished scientists. Educated at Harrow, (where he displayed a great talent for entomology), Charles had tremendous energy for his many pursuits and occupations and the bank at New Court benefited from his practical and systematic approach to the organisation of the firm.
Nathaniel Charles Rothschild (1877-1923), on a trip to Japan, 1902.
1919 The first Gold Fixing takes place at New Court
The 12 September 1919 saw the first Gold Fixing take place at New Court, the offices of N M Rothschild & Sons. Every day, the representatives of the five members of the London Gold Market would assemble in a room at New Court. Each representative sat at a small desk with a telephone and a small Union flag. The Chairman would announce an opening price which was telephoned to the dealing room of each of the houses represented. They relayed the price to their customers around the world. On the basis of orders received, each dealing room instructed its representative at the Fixing to declare as a buyer or seller of a certain number of bars. If a balance of buyers and sellers was achieved within the room the price was fixed; if not the process would be repeated at a higher or lower price until balance was achieved. At any stage, customers could be advised by telephone of price changes and could alter their instructions. While these discussions were going on, the representative would raise their flag to indicate unreadiness to settle. Only when all the flags were lowered on the table and the balance achieved, could the Chairman declare a ‘Fix’.
Gold bars produced by the Rothschild-run Royal Mint Refinery in the 1930s.
1923 Lionel Nathan de Rothschild becomes Senior Partner
Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942) was educated at Harrow and Trinity College Cambridge before taking his place as a partner at New Court. The official insistence from the King that he remain at New Court to direct the affairs of the London House did not prevent Lionel from serving his country with distinction in the reserves as a major in the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry during the First World War. Under Lionel, the bank began a steady transition towards advisory work and finance raising for commercial concerns, including successful bond issues for the London Underground, and issuing shares in the UK business of F.W. Woolworth.
Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1882-1942).
1923 Baron Edmond de Rothschild establishes the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association
In 1882, Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934) began to buy land in Southern Syria (Ottoman Palestine). He became a leading proponent of the Zionist movement, financing the first site at Rishon LeZion, and promoting industrialisation and economic development. Edmond played a pivotal role in Israel's wine industry; under the supervision of his administrators, farm colonies and vineyards were established, and two major wineries were opened in Rishon LeZion and Zikhron Ya'akov. In 1923, Edmond established the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA), with his son James as first President. PICA acquired more than 125,000 acres (50,586 ha) of land and set up business ventures to enable the work which he started in Palestine to be continued . For his Jewish philanthropy Baron Edmond became known as "HaNadiv HaYadu'a", (Hebrew for "The Known Benefactor" or "The Famous Benefactor").
Baron Edmond de Rothschild (1845-1934).
1924 Rothschild philanthropy in Frankfurt
In Frankfurt, Nathan's youngest child Louise (1820-1994) and her seven daughters were responsible for many of the family's 30 charitable foundations in the city, including a dental clinic, a free public library, a swimming bath, old people's homes, orphanages, funds to pay school fees, soup kitchens and hospitals. After the death of Wilhelm Carl (1828-1901) and the closure of the Frankfurt bank, Hannah Mathilde (1832-1924) was the last of the Frankfurt Rothschilds. Six charitable foundations in the city owed their establishment to her benevolence, and in her will she made many charitable bequests.
Bookplate from the Carl von Rothschild Library, Frankfurt.
1925 Gunnersbury Estate becomes a public park
Gunnersbury was purchased by Nathan Rothschild shortly before his death in 1836. The estate was much loved by the family, and was the setting for both business and social events. Nathan's widow Hannah, used it as her second home and continued with the neo-georgian alterations under the architect Sydney Smirke. Hannah's eldest son, Lionel, took over the estate at her death in 1850, enlarging the park in 1861 and adding a pleasure lake and boat house, and improving the house to give it all modern conveniences, including gas lighting and water closets. When Lionel’s wife, Charlotte, died, the house passed to their youngest son, Leopold. Under his management, Leopold made significant alterations to the gardens, while the estate saw the building of new houses and local hospitals and schools benefited from Leopold’s noted philanthropy. In 1925, 186 acres of land at Gunnersbury were purchased for public use for £125,000 by the boroughs of Acton and Ealing.
Map of the Gunnersbury estate, 1849.
1924 Economic reconstruction in Europe: Hungarian bonds
In 1924, the wake of a League of Nations plan for economic reconstruction, Rothschilds, together with Schroders and Barings, arranged a 7.5% loan for the Counties of Hungary on behalf of the Hungarian Government, of which £8 million was issued in London.Further Hungarian loans were arranged during the decade. In 1926 N M Rothschild & Sons issued the Counties of Hungary bond for £2,225,000, a time when credit to Hungary was subject to post-war restrictions.
Detail of the bond issued for the Hungarian Government loan of 1926.
1928 N M Rothschild & Sons finances expansion of London's Underground railways
Together with Barings and Schroders, N M Rothschild & Sons helped arrange the share capital of London's key underground rail company to develop extensions to the network. Further loans were issued in 1929 and 1930.The Underground Electric Railways Company of London Ltd had controlling interests in several underground lines and began a number of projects for their expansion. The most notable of these projects was the extension and improvement of the Piccadilly Line from Finsbury Park to Cockfosters in the north and from Hammersmith to Northfields in the west.
Map that accompanied the prospectus for the Underground Railways loan of 1928.
1929 Henri de Rothschild opens the Theatre Pigalle
Henri de Rothschild (1872-1947) wasa doctor and playwright. He played a minor role in the fortunes of the Paris bank, serving as a director of the Nord Railway. In 1929 Henri opened The Theatre Pigalle in Montmartre at enormous expense in the latest art deco chrome and neon style.
Facade of the Theatre Pigalle, 1929.
1931 N M Rothschild & Sons respond to the Creditanstalt crisis
N M Rothschild & Sons chaired the Committee to rescue the Austrian Creditanstalt, which had collapsed early in 1931, precipitating a global financial crisis.The Creditanstalt was founded in 1855 by Salomon Mayer Rothschild's son Anselm von Rothschild (1803-1874) as K. k. priv. Österreichische Credit-Anstalt für Handel und Gewerbe. It soon became the largest bank of Austria-Hungary. n the late 1920s, a principal debtor, the Steyr-Werke AG faced financial difficulties, with bad loans leading to a drain on finances. In October 1929 the Austrian Schober government compelled the Creditanstalt to assume liabilities, which together with the simultaneous Wall Street Crash entailed the imbalance of the then largest Austrian credit institution. The Creditanstalt declared bankruptcy on May 11, 1931. The bank was ultimately rescued by the Austrian Republic, the National Bank of Austria and the Rothschild family.
The Creditanstalt building, Vienna.
1933 Support for Jewish refugees
The Rothschild family had quickly responded to the plight of Jews across Europe, and many activities were orchestrated from New Court and by the family. Anthony de Rothschild (1887-1961) and his wife Yvonne (1899-1977) provided assistance to Jewish refugees from Europe while maintaining the family's commitments to a number of Anglo-Jewish institutions. Efforts continued throughout the war and after, with the Central British Fund for Jewish Relief & Rehabilitation and other efforts being co-odinated through the bank’s offices at New Court. In the late 1930s, Lord Rothschild was a powerful advocate for the plight of reugees. James de Rothschild (1878-1957) arranged for an entire orphanage to be transported from Frankfurt and accommodated at his estate at Waddesdon.
Jewish refugee children from Vienna arriving at Harwich in 1938.
1934 The fabulous Rothschild Hispano-Suizas
In March 1934, Anthony de Rothschild (1887-1961) ourchased a matching pair of Hispano-Suiza motor cars for himslef and his wife Yvonne (1899-1977). A K-6 for formal occasions and a J-12 for cruising around town were ordered through Hispano-Suiza’s London agent, J. Smith & Co. Ltd. The chassis were sent to Fernandez & Darrin in the United States to receive striking bodies. The K-6 Coupe Chauffeur limousine featured a teardrop–shaped closed passenger compartment, and this is believed to have been Anthony’s car of choice. On the shorter J-12 chassis, a matching teardrop-shaped four-passenger coupe was built and this was favoured by Anthony’s wife, Yvonne. The J-12 was one of the most expensive Hispano-Suiza chassis, costing $10,150 and featuring a V12 engine similar to the fighter plane engines of the era. The J-12 was sold in 1949 and the K-6 remained with the Rothschild family until 1984.
The K6 'Rothschild' Hispano-Suiza.
1936 Lionel de Rothschild and The Roads Beautifying Association
In the 1930s, Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942) a passionate gardener, was involved with The Roads Beautifying Association. The Association was founded in 1928 by the Minister of Transport, to provide an organisation through which the expertise of horticultural specialists was made available to local authorities and others responsible for highway planting, the preservation of trees and the management of the urban landscape. The organisation held an immediate appeal for Lionel, and he became chair of the technical sub-committee. In 1937, Lionel expressed the philosophy of the Association as being “to let the poor man have the same pleasure from driving up to his cottage or his house as the rich man can get from his private drive.”
Cover of the annual report of The Roads Beautifying Association for 1937.
1937 Mr Eddy's Round-the-World tour
Edmund de Rothschild (1916-2009) was brought up at Exbury House, in Hampshire. Educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1937 he was sent by his father on an 18-month tour around the world. He published an account as Window on the World (1949). He went to Africa, rode horseback over the Andes, and motored across the Northern Territories in Australia. He pressed on to Burma, India and Afghanistan, calling, en route, on the Viceroy, Mahatma Gandhi. He returned to England in May 1939 and worked at N M Rothschild & Sons until the outbreak of war in September.
Edmund de Rothschild (known as Mr Eddy) (1916-2009).
1937 N M Rothschild & Sons and the nationalisation of the French railways
All the Rothschild banks were enthusiastic supporters of railway development, from the very first days of their construction. The most important of the Rothschild's French railway investments was in the Chemin de fer du Nord. On 1 January 1938 the French railways were merged into a single entity, the Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer, in which the French government had a 51% shareholding. N M Rothschild & Sons participated in raising £40,000,000 for the government over the course of 1937 to enable the merger to take place. The creation of the SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français), brought together the former railway companies the Chemins de fer de l'Est (Est) (Eastern Railways), the Chemins de fer de l'État (État) (State Railways) (merged in 1908 with the Chemins de fer de l'Ouest), the Chemins de fer du Nord (Nord) (Northern Railways), the Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée (PLM) (Paris, Lyon and Mediterranean Railways), the Chemins de fer de Paris à Orléans et du Midi (Paris, Orléans, and Southern Railways) (PO-Midi, formed in 1934 from the merger of the Chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans and the Chemins de fer du Midi), Administration des chemins de fer d'Alsace et de Lorraine (AL) (Alsace-Lorraine Railways), and the Syndicats du Chemin de fer de Grande Ceinture et de Petite Ceinture (Great and Little Belt Railways).
The Gare du Nord, Paris.
1938 The Rothschilds leave Vienna
Faced with the growing instability and threat to Austrian Jews, Rothschilds' Vienna banking house, S M von Rothschild und Söhne, closed in March 1938, following the Nazi invasion of Austria. In March 1938 the Viennese business was placed under compulsory administration. The head of the bank, Louis von Rothschild (1882-1955) was held prisoner under house arrest for a year before finally settling in the USA, after handing over most of his Austrian assets to the the new regime. In 1939, S M von Rothschild was then put under the temporary control of the German firm of Merck, Finck & Co., and finally sold to them, with the newly founded Vienna Bankhaus E.v Nicolai taking over in 1940.
It was not until 1955 that the family were able to negotiate the return of their estates in Europe. The box above contained the ‘Moscow Papers’, archives of the Viennese family originally looted during the Second World War.
1939 The Royal Mint Refinery helps the war effort
Between 1939 and 1945 the efforts of the Royal Mint Refinery were directed to making munitions. Part of the Royal Mint Refinery made precision parts for artillery, while staff took turns fire watching on the roof of the large building. Most of the work of N M Rothschild & Sons was evacuated to Tring Mansion in Hertfordshire during the war. Tring had been the country estate of Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915).
Workers at the Royal Mint Refinery in the 1930s.
1940 Members of the French family leave France on 'Mendes' visas
Aristides de Sousa Mendes (1885-1954) was the Portuguese Consul-General in Bordeaux. Defying his Government's orders, he issued visas to thousands of refugees in the early period of the Second World War to enable them to leave France via Spain to Portugal and then to safety. The visas enabled members of the French Rothschild family to support the war effort in England, Canada and the United States.
Avisa issued under the orders of Aristides de Sousa Mendes.
1941 New Court survives the blitz
The business at New Court was quick to respond to threat of war, protecting the building and evacuating much of the business to Tring Park. As they had done in the First World War, the Partner's were adamant that they would remain at their desks in the City and do their bit. A week before war was declared in September 1939, 60% of the clerical staff and 'records and books of value' were evacuated to Tring Park. Precautions to protect New Court were taken, and the office was equipped with fire-fighting apparatus, gas-proof curtains, a first-aid room installed and the basement strengthened. A fire-watching rota was organised. The first big attack on the City by the German Luftwaffe came on 29th December 1940; New Court sustained minor damage. On the bright moonlit night of the 10th May, 1941, the City was again attacked, and St Swithin's Lane showered with incendiaries. The fire services could not control the blaze, as there was a general shortage of water. By 4am New Court was surrounded by fire, but the Auxiliary Fire Service were able to pump water from the Thames to control the flames. However it was not until about midday on Sunday that New Court was considered to be out of danger.
The devastation of the City after the war.
1942 Anthony Gustav de Rothschild becomes Senior Partner
Anthony Gustav de Rothschild (1887-1961) became Senior Partner following the death of his brother Lionel. Anthony earned a double first in history at Trinity College Cambridge and then joined the family firm. During the First World War he served with the Royal Bucks Hussars, was wounded at Gallipoli and mentioned in despatches. He was a partner from 1917 until 1961, and Senior Partner from 1942. Anthony took a special interest in the work of The Royal Mint Refinery. Anthony lived at Ascott, with hid wife Yvonne Cahen d'Anvers. He was a keen horseman and collector of Chinese porcelain. In 1950, he gave Ascott to the National Trust. He died in 1961, remembered as 'not only a charming companion, but a man of high principles and great integrity'.
Anthony Gustav de Rothschild (1887-1961).
1942 Rothschilds in the United States
During the war, members of the French Rothschild family founded Amsterdam Incorporated, a joint venture in New York with Pierson, Heldring, Pierson of Amsterdam. This firm eventually became Rothschild Inc., with support from N M Rothschild & Sons in London. The present Rothschild chairman, Baron David de Rothschild was born in New York in 1942.
New York in the 1940s.
1946 Château Mouton 'Victory Year' wine label
At the end of the war, Baron Philippe de Rothschild conceived the idea of dedicating the Mouton Rothschild vintage to Victory Year, with an illustrated panel on the label. The idea soon developed into a tradition and from 1945 onwards a contemporary artist has been commisioned to illustrate the label with an original work.The 1945 Château Mouton 'Victory Year' wine label was designed by Philippe Jullian, who depicted a simple 'V' for victory surrounded by a garland of vines. The Mouton '45 is said to be one of the greatest of all Mouton vintages.
The 1945 Château Mouton 'Victory Year' wine label.
1946 The French Rothschilds acquire Paris Orléans
After the Second World War, the Rothschild family took over the remains of the former railway company Paris Orléans and transformed it into a holding company for its banking activities and corporate investments. The Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans was formed in 1838 to build and operate a railway line between Paris and Orléans. In 1938 company was nationalised with five other companies to become a part of the Société nationale des chemins de fer français. The part of the company that was not nationalised remained a simple property company. Paris Orléans was renamed Rothschild & Co in 2015.
Bond of the old Paris Orléans Railway Company.
1947 Edmund de Rothschild becomes a Partner
Edmund de Rothschild (1916-2009) became a Partner in N M Rothschild & Sons upon his return from service in North Africa during the Second World War. The first son of Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942) and Marie-Louise née Beer (1892-1975). Eddy (as he was known) was brought up at Exbury in Hampshire. After Cambridge, in 1937 Eddy was sent by his father on an 18-month tour around the world. He returned to England in May 1939 and worked at N M Rothschild & Sons until the outbreak of war in September.
Edmund Leopold de Rothschild (1916-2009).
1948 Business resumes with Japan
The London firm of N M Rothschild & Sons was one of the first British banks to resume business contact with Japan after the war, handling some London accounts for the Japanese Ministry of Finance. In 1962, the Senior Partner of N M Rothschild & Sons, Mr Edmund de Rothschild (1916-2009) was a leading member of City of London missions to strengthen commercial ties with Japan. in 1973, The Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure, 1st class, was conferred upon Mr Edmund de Rothschild by Emperor Hirohito.
Imperial Japanese Government loan bond certificate, 1930.
1949 Guy de Rothschild becomes head of the French bank
Guy de Rothschild (1909-2007) was president of the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer du Nord between 1950 and 1968. The French railway company had been founded by his great grandfather James de Rothschild. Guy fought in the Second World War and was decorated with the award of the Croix de Guerre. He was decorated with the award of the Chevalier du Mérite Agricole in 1948 and took control of the Paris bank in 1949 when his father Edouard died. Guy was with Associé de M M de Rothschild Frères between 1936 and 1967 and was President of the Banque Rothschild between 1968 and 1978.
Guy de Rothschild (1909-2007).
1950 Guy de Rothschild becomes president of the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer Nord
Guy de Rothschild (1909-2007) was president of the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer du Nord between 1950 and 1968.The winning bidder to finance the Nord line was Baron James de Rothschild (1792-1868), who envisaged his Chemin de Fer du Nord, running initially between Paris and Valenciennes, joining with the Austrian lines built by his brother, Salomon, and developing into a pan-European rail system. The Nord's monumental Paris terminus was testament to this vision. James became a true pioneer of the European railways, constructing a complex rail network across ten countries. Guy de Rothschild (1909-2007) the great grandson of James, was president of the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer du Nord between 1950 and 1968.
Bond for the Chemin de Fer du Nord.
1953 Rothschilds finance development of natural resources in Newfoundland and Labrador
In 1953, N M Rothschild & Sons led a syndicate to develop 60,000 square miles of land in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Rothschild involvement in the project was led Edmund de Rothschild. Under his guidance the syndicate formed the British Newfoundland Corporation Limited. The key to the development project was a power station to harness the Hamilton (later renamed Churchill) Falls, capable of feeding 5,225,000 kilowatts of electricity into the Canadian grid. At the time, this undertaking was the largest construction project ever tackled by a private company. It was completed in 1973.
Map of Labrador, c.1960.
1956 N M Rothschild & Sons establishes the Merchant Bank of Central Africa
The Merchant Bank of Central Africa (MBCA) was set up by N M Rothschild & Sons with a number of partners with the aim of replicating as far as possible in Africa the functions of a City of London merchant bank. The business was a collaboration with Philip Hill, Higginson & Co. Ltd and Rhodesian Selection Trust Ltd, and in association with de Rothschild Frères, Banque Lambert, Dillon Read & Co. Inc., Tanganyika Concessions Ltd, the Messina (Transvaal) Development Co. Ltd, Leben Investment (Rhodesia) Ltd and the C.T. Bowring Group of Companies. The bank was based in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia with nominal Capital of £2 million in Ordinary shares. By 1984, the MBCA had achieved the reputation of being the leading bank for corporate finance in Zimbabwe.
Downtown Salisbury, Rhodesia, c.1960.
1956 Leopold de Rothschild becomes a Partner
In 1956, Leopold de Rothschild (1927-2012) joined the family firm at New Court. Leopold was the youngest child of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1882-1942) and Marie Louise née Beer (1892-1975). Leo, as he was known, was brought up mostly at Exbury House, his fathers estate in Hampshire. During the Second World War, Leo was evacuated for three years to North America with other young Rothschild cousins from Austria and England. Returning in 1943, Leo went to Harrow, then spent his National Service in the Royal Navy serving in the cruiser Kenya. He went to Trinity College, Cambridge, to read French and Russian. After leaving Cambridge and brief training at other banks, Leo joined the family business at New Court. From 1970 to 1983 he sat as a director on the Court of the Bank of England, and was heavily involved in re-establishing Rothschild’s Latin American offices, especially Mexico, Chile and Brazil.
Leopold David de Rothschild (1927-2012).
1957 James and Dorothy de Rothschild give Waddesdon Manor to the nation
The mansion at Waddesdon was completed to the specification of Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1884. Inspired by the châteaux of the Valois, Ferdinand employed Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur to build him his own French-style country house, with towers and external staircases such as he had seen while in Touraine. The spectacular house was matched by its interiors. Many of the furnishings and pictures were from 18th century Parisian interiors. After Ferdinand's death in 1898, the estate passed to his sister Miss Alice and then in 1922 to her nephew, James (1878-1957). James and his wife Dorothy (1895-1988) bequeathed the house to the National Trust in 1957.
The grey drawing room, Waddesdon Manor.
1958 Dorothy de Rothschild establishes Yad Hanadiv
Dorothy de Rothschild (1895-1988), widow of James de Rothschild (1878-1957), established Yad Hanadiv (Memorial of the Benefactor) to pursue ideals James and his father Edmond had nurtured for Israel. Baron Edmond’s motives were partly philanthropic and partly religious, and he entrusted his son James with the task of carrying on his work through the Palestine Jewish Colonisation Association (PICA). By 1957, James felt that PICA’s task had been fulfilled. Turning his attention to other matters, James stated that he wanted to look into the possibility of making a modest contribution towards the advancement ‘of science, art and culture in Israel’. Yad Hanadiv was created to take forward these aims.
Dorothy de Rothschild (1895-1988).
1959 N M Rothschild & Sons sets up its first unit trust
N M Rothschild & Sons, recognising the growing popularity of unit trusts, set up its first unit trust, the Shield Fund.
The second New Court, in the 1960s.
1959 Evelyn de Rothschild becomes a Partner
Aged 26, Evelyn (later Sir Evelyn) de Rothschild joined N M Rothschild & Sons to be trained in the family's business, following in the steps of his father. In 1959, he became a Partner in N M Rothschild & Sons. Sir Evelyn oversaw the rebuilding of New Court in the early 1960s. In 1976 he took over as Chairman of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited and in 1982 became Chairman of Rothschilds Continuation Holdings AG, the co-ordinating company for the merchant banking group. He served until 2003 when he oversaw the merger of the family's French and UK houses.
The second New Court in the 1960s.
1960 Edmund de Rothschild becomes Senior Partner of the London house
Edmund de Rothschild (1916-2009) became Senior Partner in 1960, managing a period of consolidation for the firm. A partner from 1947, he became Senior Partner in 1960 and chairman of the bank in 1970, when N M Rothschild & Sons became the last London accepting house to relinquish its private partnership status. During his term, he oversaw the rebuilding of New Court, the strengthening ties with Japan, and the development of a large infrastructure project in Newfoundland. 'Mr Eddy' as he was known, stood down as Chairman in 1975. Eddy died in 2009, aged 93.
The Partners' Room in the second New Court.
1960 N M Rothschild & Sons: first non-Rothschild partner appointed
Edmund de Rothschild (1916-2009) presided over the bank's transition from a highly conservative family firm to a modern institution, and over the demolition and rebuilding of New Court. He opened the partnership to non-family members, beginning with David Colville, brother of Sir John Colville, Churchill's private secretary THDavid Richard Colville (1909-1987) was appointed in July 1960 as the first non-Rothschild partner.
The Partners' Room in the second New Court.
1961 Rothschilds and Chile
In 1961, N M Rothschild & Sons played an intermediary role in securing the terms of a £2million loan from the British government to assist relief in the wake of an earthquake disaster which had left half a million homeless. Rothschild business links with Chile date back to 1825, when New Court established a significant trade in silver and gold bullion and specie with the merchant house of Frederick Huth in Valparaiso. In the first thirty years of the nineteenth century N M Rothschild & Sons had arranged loans to Chile totalling over £24 million. The London house continued to act as financial adviser to the Chilean government in the years following the Second World War.
Bond for the Chilian loan of 1909.
1963 Edmond de Rothschild forms La Compagnie Financière
1963 saw the birth of La Compagnie Financière Edmond de Rothschild (LCF). Founded by Edmond de Rothschild (1926-1997), the Swiss-based firm began as a venture capital house, and developed into a fully fledged investment bank and asset management company, with a range of affiliates. In 2010, the LCF Rothschild group changed its name to the group Edmond de Rothschild.
Edmond de Rothschild (1926-1997).
1963 Jacob Rothschild becomes a Partner
In 1963, Jacob Rothschild (b.1936) (now the 4th Lord Rothschild), became a Partner in N M Rothschild & Sons. Jacob was educated at Eton College and then at Christ Church, Oxford, where he gained a First in history, tutored by Hugh Trevor-Roper. Jacob left the bank in 1980, taking independent control of Rothschild Investment Trust (now RIT Capital Partners plc), an investment trust listed on the London Stock Exchange. Jacob went on to found J. Rothschild Assurance Group (now St. James's Place plc) with Sir Mark Weinberg in 1991.
The Partners' Room in the second New Court.
1964 Rothschild returns to Manchester
In 1964 N M Rothschild & Sons returned to Manchester with the opening of a new office in the city. In 1799, Nathan Mayer Rothschild had established Rothschild Brothers in Manchester as commission agents to coordinate the supply of British textiles to the continental market for his father's account. He quickly built up an impressive reputation as a successful merchant. Nathan lived in Manchester for a decade, revolutionising the textile trade. When Nathan moved to London in 1809, the Manchester business was taken over by one of his clerks, Joseph Barber. The company ceased trading under the Rothschild name in 1811.
Mossley St, Manchester, where Nathan Mayer Rothschild had a house.
1965 The London bank occupies new offices
In 1965, the staff of N M Rothschild & Sons moved into their new strikingly modern glass and marble building at New Court, St Swithin's Lane. This move was symbolic of the resurgence of the Rothschild businesses. In 1962, at the suggestion of Evelyn de Rothschild the bold decision had been taken to rebuild New Court, with a building more fitting for the age of the "white heat of technology". Designed by Fitzroy Robinson and Partners, the six-storey glass and steel building on the site of the old New Court incorporated features from the 1865 building such as cobblestones from the courtyard and panelling from the Partners’ and Managers’ rooms. The staff of the firm now numbered over 300.
Architects' model of the third New Court.
1966 The Knesset ceremony of dedication takes place
Upon his death, in 1957, James de Rothschild (1878-1957_had bequeathed a sum of money to fund the building of a Jewish Parliament House, the Knesset. In a letter to the then Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, James had written, "Let the Knesset building become a symbol in the eyes of all men of the permanence of the State of Israel." His wife, Dorothy, saw that his wishes were carried out. 1966, a ceremony of dedication for the Knesset took place, in the presence of Dorothy de Rothschild.
1967 Sale of the Royal Mint Refinery
Bullion trading was a speciality of Nathan Rothschild’s and a major source of his immense wealth. These transactions brought the Rothschilds into a close relationship with the bullion market which extended to rescuing the Bank of England from the brink of disaster with large injections of gold in 1825, and playing host to the daily Gold Fixing from 1919 to 2005. From 1852 to 1967, the Rothschilds were the leaseholders of the Royal Mint Refinery, giving them a unique position in gold refining in London.The refinery was sold to Engelhard Industries Ltd, bringing to an end over a century of production of Rothschild gold.
Trade stand of Royal Mint Refinery products, 1950s.
1967 Creation of Banque Rothschild; rebuilding of the French bank offices
Following French government reform of banking regulations, de Rothschild Frères became Banque Rothschild, a limited-liability company in 1967. Banque Rothschild was created on January 1st 1968, functioning as a deposit bank. In 1969 Guy de Rothschild was the Chairman; Alain de rothschild and Elie de Rothschild were Vice-chairmen and cousin Evelyn de Rothschild was on the board. At Easter 1970, a new modern bank building was inaugurated at 21 rue Laffitte, Paris.
The new Rothschild bank building in the rue Lafitte, Paris.
1967 N M Rothschild & Sons finance the Rio de Janeiro-Niteroi Bridge
This bridge, the sixth longest in the world, was financed by N M Rothschild & Sons. Mr Leopold de Rothschild (1927-2012) led the London bank's intesests in South America. The President Costa e Silva Bridge, commonly known as the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, is a box girder bridge crossing Guanabara Bay, in the State of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. It connects the city of Rio de Janeiro and the municipality of Niterói. It is currently the longest pre-stressed concrete bridge in the southern hemisphere. From its completion in 1974 until 1985 it was the world's second-longest bridge, second only to Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.
The President Costa e Silva Bridge, commonly known as the Rio-Niteroi Bridge.
1968 Creation of Rothschild Bank AG
Rothschild Bank AG was established in Zurich by members of the British and French Rothschild families in 1968. Since then, it has grown into an international private banking group with offices and representatives in major cities around the world, serving a varied international client base. Rothschild Bank AG provides private banking and asset management services to individuals, families, and charities worldwide. The company is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.
Zurch, where Rothschild Bank AG is based.
1970 N M Rothschild & Sons becomes a limited company
On September 30th 1970, the London house ceased to be a partnership and became a limited company. The company founded by Nathan Mayer Rothschild in 1810 became N M Rothschild & Sons Limited in 1970. The firm was the last London accepting house to relinquish its private partnership status.
Rothschild cheque book cover from the 1960s.
1971 N M Rothschild & Sons first involvement in privatisation
The British Government asked N M Rothschild & Sons to handle the sale of the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation in 1971; Rothschilds' first involvement in the field of privatisation. Under the chairmanship of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, N M Rothschild & Sons was to handle many government privatisations in the 1980s and 1990s.
View of St Swithin's Lane; N M Rothschild & Sons Limited is on the left.
1973 N M Rothschild & Sons Limited advise Rolls-Royce
N M Rothschild & Sons Limited advised Rolls-Royce Motors Holdings Limited on its flotation in May 1973. In 1987, Rothschild was again appointed financial adviser to Rolls-Royce and joint lead underwriter on its £1.4 billion privatisation. In 1995 Rothschilds underwrote a vendor placing and open offer for Rolls-Royce to raise approximately £350 million. The placing was believed to be the largest of its kind in the London market.
A silver cigarette box, presented by Rolls Royce to N M Rothschild & Sons Limited, in 1973.
1973 Mr Edmund de Rothschild awarded the Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure
The Japanese Order of the Sacred Treasure, 1st class, was conferred upon Mr Edmund de Rothschild by Emperor Hirohito in 1973.The Order, one of Japan’s highest honours, was conferred upon Mr Eddy “in full recognition of your great contributions in the international monetary field to the economic and industrial development of Japan and the ceaseless endeavours you have devoted to the promotion of Japanese-British friendship”.
The Order of the Sacred Treasure, one of Japan’s highest honours, conferred upon Edmund de Rothschild in 1973.
1973 Rothschild Asset Management Limited is established
The London bank's investment division was separately incorporated as N M Rothschild Asset Management Limited in 1973, becoming its sister company in 1986. Rothschild Asset Management specialised in the management of the assets of major pension funds and insurance companies and offered unit trusts and other investment vehicles to both large institutional and the small investors.
Coupons from a 19th century Rothschild bond issue.
1973 N M Rothschild & Sons Limited finance railways in Hong Kong
Rothschild were co-managers with Kleinworts and the Bank of Hong Kong in the financing of the Mass Transit Scheme, an underground railway system in Hong Kong. Rothschild has been involved with railways for over 180 years. In the nineteenth century in countries as far apart as Brazil, India and South Africa, Rothschilds were asked to raise the finance for the development of lines to open up new regions and to carry the goods which were to build national wealth.
A train on the Hong Kong MTR c.1975.
1974 Banque Rothschild establishes Imétal
Rothschilds' long involvement with mineral mining received a new boost with the creation of Imétal in 1974. Mining was just one of the French Rothschilds' considerable raw material interests. This umbrella company for their mineral concerns followed the sale of 50 percent of Le Nickel mining company to a French government corporation. Imétal grew rapidly, acquiring interests in the United States and Britain. The French house lost its stake in the company when the bank was nationalised in 1981, but Rothschild expertise was missed and family members were invited to join the board.
Coal mines of the French Rothschilds, Pas-de-Calais, France.
1975 Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild becomes Chairman
Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild (1910-1990) became Chairman of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited, succeeding Edmund de Rothschild who retired after 36 years of service with the family firm. Victor became the third Lord Rothschild in 1937 on the death of his uncle, Walter. During World War Two Victor worked for the Intelligence Service. After the war, Victor combined his academic interests with work for industry. In 1961 he began work for Shell Research Ltd., of which he was chairman from 1963 until his retirement in 1970. From 1971 to 1974 he was the first Director General of the Central Policy Review Staff. From 1975 to 1976 Victor chaired N M Rothschild and Sons Limited and remained active in the firm until his death.
Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild (1910-1990).
1979 N M Rothschild & Sons advise on developmental projects in China
In 1977, on the eve of the reopening of trade with China, Evelyn de Rothschild in his capacity as Chairman of The Economist, visited China and opened the way for further visits by representatives of the Bank who were, in turn, able to discuss a range of possible interests, focusing particularly on gold and foreign exchange. As a direct result of the Four Modernisations programme announced by the Chinese Government in 1975, (which aimed to strengthen the fields of agriculture, industry, defence and science and technology), foreign companies were invited to participate and assist in a number of developmental projects in China. Among British companies brought into China in this way in 1979 were the National Coal Board and Northern Engineering Industries, who bid for the construction of two power generating plants, one near Beijing, the other in Jiangsu Province. N M Rothschild & Sons Limited was financial adviser to these schemes.
Coal power plant in Beijing.
1976 Evelyn de Rothschild becomes Chairman of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited
Sir Evelyn de Rothschild was born in 1931, the only son of Anthony Gustav de Rothschild (1887-1961) and Yvonne Lydia Louise Cahen d'Anvers (1899-1977). He was named after his uncle Evelyn Achille de Rothschild who was killed in action during the First World War. Sir Evelyn was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He has held chairmanships and directorships with The Economist, Charter Consolidated, British Merchant Banking & Securities House Association, Milton Keynes Development Corporation, De Beers Consolidated Mines, and IBM United Kingdom Holdings Limited. In 1967 Sir Evelyn created the Eranda Foundation to support social welfare, promote the arts and encourage research into medicine and education. Sir Evelyn joined N M Rothschild & Sons aged 26. In 1976, he took over as Chairman and in 1982 became Chairman of Rothschilds Continuation Holdings AG, the co-ordinating company for the merchant banking group. He served until 2003 when, together with his cousin Baron David de Rothschild he oversaw the merger of the family's French and UK houses.
Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.
1980 Jacob Rothschild establishes RIT
Jacob, 4th Lord Rothschild joined N M Rothschild & Sons in 1963. He left the family firm in 1980 to pursue independent business interests, including Rothschild Investment Trust (now RIT Capital Partners plc), J. Rothschild Assurance Group (now St. James's Place plc) together with numerous other successful business enterprises .Jacob has played a prominent role in Arts philanthropy in Britain. In 1988, he inherited from his aunt, Dorothy de Rothschild, the Waddesdon and Eythrope estates in Buckinghamshire, which were built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the 1880s and bequeathed to the National Trust in 1957 by James de Rothschild (1878-1957).
Waddesdon Manor, the estate inherited by Jacob, 4th Lord Rothschild in 1988.
1982 Nationalisation of the French bank
Banque Rothschild, the French Rothschild business established by James de Rothschild in 1812 was one of 39 to be nationalised by the French government. The business became Compagnie Européenne de Banque. But with nationalistion, Rothschild banking was not at an end in France. Following nationalisation of the business, the Rothschild family established a new banking operation, using the family company Paris Orléans. In October 1986, the Rothschild family were granted the right to use family name again, as Rothschild & Associés Banque.
A safe from the original French bank in the rue Laffitte on display at New Court.
1983 Relaunch of Rothschild's French activities through Paris Orléans
Following nationalisation of the French business in 1982, the family relaunched their activities through Paris Orléans, a former Rothschild railway company. In 1983, the former Directors of Banque Rothschild, David and Nathaniel de Rothschild and Eric de Rothschild, together with six colleagues re-started the business, using Paris Orléans as a launch pad, and creating P.O. Gestion as a banking operation. Paris Orléans was renamed Rothschild & Co in 2015.
Detail of a bond of the former Paris Orléans Railway Company.
1984 Privatisation of British Telecom
N M Rothschild & Sons Limited were a primary underwriter of the initial privatisation of British Telecommunications. British Telecom's origins date back to the founding of the Electric Telegraph Company in 1846 which developed a nationwide communications network. In 1912, the General Post Office, a government department, became the monopoly telecoms supplier in GB. The Post Office Act of 1969 led to the GPO becoming a public corporation. British Telecom was formed in 1980, and became independent of the Post Office in 1981. British Telecom was privatised in 1984, with some 50 per cent of its shares sold to investors. Rothschilds again advised the company when further shares were sold in 1991 and 1993, raising over £10 billion for the British Government.
The iconic British red telephone box.
1984 Rothschild advise on the flotation of Reuters
The London bank can trace its links to Reuters back to 1850 when the London bank used Reuter's carrier pigeons and telegraph system. In 1984 Rothschilds acted as adviser to the Press Association and co-led the flotation of Reuters, the first simultaneous initial public offering on both the London and New York Stock Exchanges.
The London bank can trace its links to Reuters back to 1850 when the London bank used Reuter's carrier pigeons and telegraph system
1986 Privatisation of British Gas
N M Rothschild & Sons Limited advised the UK government and was global co-ordinator and lead underwriter in the privatisation of British Gas. This was the most significant piece of privatisation work to be undertaken by N M Rothschild & Sons. The firm acted as financial adviser to the UK Government, and was global co-ordinator and lead underwriter of the first simultaneous UK, US, Canadian, Japanese and European offerings to establish a truly common prospectus, common underwriting timetable, common fee structure and universal share clawback. £5.6 billion was raised under the offer. The privatisation of British Gas was publicised through a famous campaign with the slogan "If you see Sid, tell him". Co-incidentally, Sid was the name of an employee in the New Court postroom. I
British Gas privatisation was sold to the public with the famous 'Sid' csampaign.
1986 Creation of Rothschild & Cie
After nationalisation of M M de Rothschild Frères in 1981-1982, the Rothschilds are able to use their name again for a business, and create the Banque Rothschild et Associés.
James de Rothschild (1792-1868), founder of the French House of Rothschild.
1987 Sale of British Petroleum
N M Rothschild & Sons Limited was financial adviser to the UK Government on the sale of its remaining 37 per cent holding in BP, the largest ever secondary offering outside Japan with five simultaneous public offerings and a globally managed tender. The Rothschild connection to oil goes back to the 1880s, when the Rothschilds had invested in an oil refinery at Fiume in the Adriatic, and were keen to supply it with Russian oil. They loaned the money to complete a railway and arranged for shipments of Russian oil to Europe. By 1886 the Rothschilds formed the Caspian and Black Sea Petroleum Company (known forever by its Russian initials BNITO) in Batum, and soon became Russia' s second largest oil group.
BP logo of the 1980s.
1988 Rothschild appointed financial adviser to the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation
NMR UK was appointed as financial adviser to the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation (CBDC) on the £1.5 billion redevelopment of the bay area including the construction of a barrage across the bay. The CBDC was set up by the United Kingdom Government on 3 April 1987 to redevelop of one sixth of the area of Cardiff to create Cardiff Bay. During the CBDC's lifetime 1,300,000 m2 of non-housing development and 5,780 housing units were built. Around 31,000 new jobs were created and some £1.8 billion of private finance was invested. About 200 acres (81 ha) of derelict land was reclaimed.
Panoramic view of Cardiff Bay.
1988 Privatisation of British Steel
N M Rothschild & Sons Limited was appointed by the UK Government as lead underwriter for the £2.8 billion privatisation of British Steel. The Rothschilds had been involved in the steel industry since Salomon Rothschild purchased the iron and steel works at Vítkovice (Witkowitz) in Ostrava (now in the Czech Republic) in 1843.
British Steel advertising, c.1970
1989 Rothschild banking returns to Frankfurt
In 1989 the London and Paris Rothschilds announced the opening of a Frankfurt subsidiary. Rothschild GmbH marked the return of a Rothschild bank to the city from where the family business had originated. It was just part of the development of a series of new worldwide operations, which had begun with the establishment of Rothschild Intercontinental Bank (later Rothschild Inc.) in the United States. Today, Rothschild has a business presence in over 40 countries around the world.
The old City of Frankfurt-am-Main.
1989 Water company privatisation
Water privatisation was undertaken in 1989 to partly privatise the ten previously public regional water authorities in England and Wales through the sale of assets. N M Rothschild & Sons played a key role in the £5.24 billion privatisation of the ten Water and Sewerage businesses of England and Wales. NMR acted as financial advisers to all 10 businesses collectively through the Water Services Association and separately advised Southern Water plc.
Overflow drain, Ladybower reservoir, Derbyshire.
1990 Electricity privatisation
N M Rothschild & Sons Limited advised the twelve regional electricity companies in England and Wales on their £5.2 billion privatisation.This was one of the firm's many involvements in the electricity sector worldwide. The pathfinder prospectus for the privatised Twelve Regional Electricity Companies of England and Wales was published on Friday, 2 November. N M Rothschild & Sons acted as financial adviser to the twelve companies collectively as well as advising a number of them individually.
Halton House in Buckinghamshire built by Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918) was the first large country house to be designed and built with electic lighting.
1990 N M Rothschild & Sons Limited opens Denver office
NMR & Sons (Denver) Limited was established to take the Rothschild group’s expertise in natural resources financing into the heartland of the US base and metal mining.Mining has been a major part of the Rothschilds’ business activities since the first half of the 19th century when they acquired an interest in the Almadén quicksilver mines, and became involved in the gold rushes in California and Australia. Over the last 150 years Rothschilds has been involved in all the major gold, silver, diamond, rubies, quicksilver, coal, nickel, platinum, copper and other base metal mining regions of the world.
Panoramic view of Denver.
1992 Inauguration of the new Supreme Court building, Israel
In anticipation of the centennial celebrations marking the establishment of the earliest agricultural settlements in Israel supported by Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Dorothy de Rothschild, the widow of Edmond’s son James, sought to commemorate this jubilee with a symbolic gesture – the endowment of a building of national significance. In November 1992, the Supreme Court building in Jerusalem, proposed and supported by Yad Hanadiv, the foundation established by Dorothy de Rothschild, was inaugurated. After a site was selected on the ridge of Givat Ram, an architectural competition was held, which stipulated that the design of the new structure had to be in harmony with the Knesset building, situated to the south. The competition was won by architects Ada Karmi-Melamede and Ram Karmi.
The Israel Supreme Court building, endowed by Yad Hanadiv.
1993 N M Rothschild & Sons Limited advise on the restructuring of the British railway industry
In March 1993, N M Rothschild & Sons Limited began to advise Railtrack on all relevant matters to do with the restructuring of the British railway industry including its £1.95 billion privatisation by public offering.The Rothschild businesses have been involved with railways for over 180 years when the French and Austrian family pioneered the building of early railways across Europe.
The Gare du Nord, Paris terminus of the Nord line built by the French Rothschilds.
1993 Rothschild reopened the dormant Eurosterling convertible bond market
In 1993, Rothschild reopened the dormant Eurosterling convertible bond market, lead managing three sterling Euroconvertible issues in February and becoming the leading manager of such issues in the United Kingdom. The three issues, which together raised over £310 million were Northern Foods, Sun Alliance and BPB Industries.
New Court, home of the London bank.
1993 Rothschild advises Peel Holdings on the acquistion of shares in The Manchester Ship Canal Company
In 1997, Rothschild Manchester advised Peel Holdings on its offer to acquire the minority ordinary and preference shares in The Manchester Ship Canal Company not already owned by Peel, 107 years after the London house had raised finance for the construction of the canal . The Manchester Ship Canal was one of the last major canals to be constructed in Britain. It stretches for 36 miles from Eastham, on the Mersey estuary 6 miles from Liverpool, almost to the centre of Manchester.
Map that accompanied the prospectus for the 1886 Manchester Ship Canal loan.
1994 Sale of British Coal
N M Rothschild & Sons Limited were financial adviser to the UK Government on the privatisation, by way of competitive tender, of the coal mining activities of British Coal Corporation. Continuing their connection to mining that had begun with The Exploration Company in the 1880s, N M Rothschild & Sons Limited advised the UK Government on the restructuring of the UK coal industry into regional packages and also on regulatory issues. The sale of the three key regional packages in England, Scotland and Wales raised some £1 billion for the UK Government.
The pit-head at a British coal mine.
1996 Memorandum of Understanding with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
In September 1996 N M Rothschild & Sons Limited signed an historical Memorandum of Understanding with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to develop jointly financial advisory business in China and internationally. Rothschild can trace its trade connections with China back to 1838. The London housed was one of the first business institutions from the west to re-establish relations with China after 1953. Rothschilds’ Shanghai representative office opened for business in 1994.
Letter from Rothschild agents G C Schwabe & Co. in Shanghai, China, 1858.
1996 Rothschild forms a joint venture with ABM AMRO
N M Rothschild & Sons Limited formed an equity capital markets joint venture with ABN AMRO. The new venture was called ABN AMRO Rothschild. Known as ABN AMRO Rothschild, the venture became an immediate success. The joint venture combined Rothschilds' extensive capital markets advisory experience with ABN AMRO's global, research, distribution and trading capabilities to provide a full advisory and execution service to governments and corporations worldwide in the field of privatisations, international equity offerings, equity capital raisings and private placements.
The former ABN-AMRO building, Rotterdam.
1997 Rothschild appointed by HM Prison Service to advise on financing of new prisons
N M Rothschild & Sons was appointed by HM Prison Service to advise on the provision of six new prisons under the Government's Private Finance Initiative. The six prison projects had a capital value of £50-80 million each. Members of the English Rothschild family were involved in work to address social issues. Lady Constance Battersea (née de Rothschild) (1843-1931) was particularly active in this area. After her marriage to Cyril Flower, Lord Battersea in 1877, Constance combined a lavish social life with charitable activities, becoming engaged in the temperance movement, and supporting educational causes. In the mid 1890s, her reputation for social activism led her to become active in the movement for reforms of English women’s prisons.
Constance, Lady Battersea (née de Rothschild) (1843-1931).
1998 Rothschild Australia Limited begins to trade as a bank
Rothschild Australia Limited began to trade as a licensed bank under a new name of NMR & Sons (Australia) Limited. This encompasses four principal businesses operating from offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth with representative offices in Adelaide, Brisbane & Auckland. N M Rothschild & Sons appointed its first Australian correspondent in Hobart, Tasmania, which had become a self-governing colony in 1825. Montefiore, Furtado & Co. was part of a developing business empire established in Australia by Joseph Barrow Montefiore, a cousin by marriage of the Rothschilds, and his partner David Ribeiro Furtado. In 1868 Rothschilds, in collaboration with the New South Wales Bank, raised a £1 million 5% loan on behalf of the Government of New South Wales. N M Rothschild & Sons opened its first Australian office in 1967, then called International Pacific Corporation.
Bill of lading from Melbourne, Australia, 1853.
2000 N M Rothschild & Sons Limited develop 3G licence auctions
The British government appointed N M Rothschild & Sons as financial advisers for 3G mobile phone licensing, the largest single public sector licensing or privatisation transaction to date.N M Rothschild & Sons Limited advised the UK government on auctioning radio spectrum for mobile communications. The bank adopted an innovative and highly successful auction process whereby telephone companies bid for the available licences, resulting in five licences being granted for £22.5 billion.
Prospectus for the New Telephone Company loan issued by the London house in 1892.
2001 Rothschild becomes the leading adviser on UK takeovers worth less than £250 million
N M Rothschild & Sons soared 11 places to become the leading adviser on UK takeovers worth less than £250 million. In 2001, N M Rothschild & Sons Limited advised on 36 deals with a UK firm as buyer or seller, worth a total of £2.5 billion, 50 per cent more than in 2000.
Ledgers recording the buisness of the London house.
2003 N M Rothschild & Sons: 'Bank of the Year'
Acquisitions Monthly announced that Rothschild was named Bank of the Year in 2003.This was followed by recognition in 2004, when The Financial Times named Rothschild as lead M&A adviser in Europe.
Ledgers recording the business of the London house.
2003 Unification of the French and English Rothschild businesses
In July 2003, The French and UK Rothschild businesses were merged, the realisation of a long held plan. The aim was to unify and optimise the control and mangament structures for all of the financial entities held in France, the UK, Europe, North America, switzerland and the rest of the world. A new lead entity was created, Concordia BV, owned 50%-50% by N M Rothschild & Sons Limited (the UK business) and Paris Orléans (the French business). In 2008, the Rothschild family banking group further reorganised its shareholdings by unifying their capital under a single company regsitered in France, a shareholder of Paris Orléans, completing the unifciation of the family business nearly two centuries after the Rothschild brothers left Frankfurt to establish their own family firms.
The Rothschild grant of arms, 1822.
2003 David de Rothschild becomes Rothschild Group Chairman
The appointment of Baron David de Rothschild, great-great-grandson of James de Rothschild (1792-1868) brought together again the English and French Rothschild business houses. David de Rothschild was born in 1942, in New York. He was educated at Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris in Paris from which he graduated in 1966. He began his business career at Société miniére et métallurgique de Peñarroya, one of the family's international mining businesses in Paris. He then began training in de Rothschild Frères bank. In 1986, joined by his half-brother Edouard, step-brother Count Philippe de Nicolay, and cousin Eric de Rothschild, Baron David created a successor company, Rothschild & Cie Banque. They soon built their new bank into a major competitor in France and continental Europe. In 2003, after 44 years with the family firm, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild stepped down as Chairman of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited. The appointment of David de Rothschild as Group Chairman brought together again the English and French Rothschild business houses, with the merger of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited with Paris Orleans SA. Today Rothschild is one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory groups, employing approximately 2,800 people in over 40 countries around the world, providing strategic, M&A, wealth management and fundraising advice and services to governments, companies and individuals worldwide.
Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and Baron David de Rothschild in the third New Court.
2004 End of the Gold Fixing at New Court
In 2004 the electronic future finally caught up with the ritual of the Gold Fixing and it now takes place in the virtual environment. Until 2004 this daily event to fix the world price of gold took place at 11.00 a.m. in the same room at New Court. For 85 years the simple procedures at New Court provided the daily benchmark against which a great deal of the world’s physical gold business was transacted. In 2004, when N M Rothschild & Sons refocused their business and left the gold market, the ritual finally came to an end.
The gold fix room at New Court.
2008 Fourth rebuilding of New Court
In 2008, work began on the re-building of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited offices, New Court. A new landmark building to the designs of internationally renowned architect Rem Koolhaas and his practice OMA has been created on St Swithin's Lane. The fourth New Court is a striking 15 storey glass and steel building providing 20,992m2 of office space in a building 75m high. The building opens up views of St Stephen Walbrook church and the London skyline from a roof-top 'sky pavilion'. Construction took place over a 30-month period from March 2008 to August 2010. The interior of the building includes many references to the company's history, and a new oak reading room for The Rothschild Archive.
The fourth New Court.
2010 The 'Plastiki' crosses the Pacific
In 2010, the David de Rothschild (b.1978), the adventurer, ecologist, and environmentalist and son of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild (b.1931) crossed the Pacific in the 'Plastiki' to raise awareness of global plastic pollution. The Plastiki was a 60-foot (18 m) catamaran made out of 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and other recycled plastic waste products. On March 20, 2010, the vessel set off from San Francisco, California to cross the Pacific Ocean with a crew of six; the Plastiki arrived in Sydney Harbour on July 26, 2010, accompanied by a small flotilla of boats.
2010 Rothschild advise Zhejiang Geely on the acquisition of Volvo Car Corporation
Rothschild advised the Chinese company Zhejiang Geely on the US$1.8bn acquisition of Volvo Car Corporation. The Volvo Car Corporation was founded in 1927. It was acquired by the Ford Motor Company in 1999. Geely Holding Group acquired Volvo from Ford in 2010. This was one of the largest foreign acquisitions by a Chinese company, which obtained a world famous brand name and related IP rights through a high profile and complex cross-border transaction. Rothschilds have been involved in the motor industry; Henri de Rothschild (1872-1947) had a particular association with the French firm Unic, providing finance for a new factory at the beginning of the 19th century.
Henri de Rothschild (1872-1947) had a particular association with the French firm Unic, providing finance for a new factory at the beginning of the 19th century.
2011 Domaines Barons de Rothschild develops its first Chinese vineyard
In 2011, Domaines Barons de Rothschild, owner of Château Lafite, in partnership with the Chinese state-owned investment corporation China International Trust and Investment Corporation, began to develop its first Chinese vineyard planted at Penglai, Shandong province, China to recreate Bordeaux-style wine made on Chinese soil. Not known to many, Penglai is nestled in the heart of the Shandong valley. The area underwent major work by both Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and the China International Trust and Investment Corporation before it was planted with grape varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Marselan in May 2011. This project was Domaines Barons de Rothschild’s very first viticulture experience in China. The project is expected to produce 120,000 bottles of wine each year.
Domaines Barons de Rothschild logo.
2012 Bicentenary of the arrival of James de Rothschild in Paris
In 2012, the Bibliothèque nationale de France held an important exhibition 'The Rothschilds in France in the 19th century', in the Richelieu Library, to celebrate two hundred years since the arrival of James de Rothschild from Frankfurt. James arrived in Paris in 1812, aged twenty. He rapidly became one the protagonists in the world of the high finance. Presented in the outstanding Mansart Gallery of the Richelieu Library, the exhibition presented a variety of paintings, objets d’art, books, illustrations, photographs, documents from archives and collections of the Rothschild family, from the BnF, The Rothschild Archive London and from several French institutions.
Cover of the Exhibition catalogue, 2012.
2012 New Court shortlisted for the 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize
The fourth New Court was shortlisted for the prestigious 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize, celebrating the best of new British architecture. The fourth New Court has opened up new views at street level, and uses traditional and modern materials in a striking way.RIBA commented: "In replacing the previous 1960s building, the architects have created an imaginative solution to a very constrained site. The new building opens up views to a Wren church by cleverly creating a pathway towards the church and generous sight lines from the pavement. New Court is a showcase for the Rothschild archives and art collection, aspects of which have been carefully incorporated into the design of the building. The building has a superb attention to detail; the materials used create a strong sense of understated elegance."
New Court by OMA, the fourth New Court building on the St Swithin's Lane site.
2014 Rothschild advise House of Fraser
Nathan Mayer Rothschild arrived in Manchester in 1798 as a textile merchant, dealing in household linens and printed fabrics. Over 220 years later the London firm he founded is still providing advice to retail companies. In 2014, Rothschild advised the House of Fraser Department store group on the sale of the business to Sanpower Group of China for £450 million. House of Fraser has over 60 stores across the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was established in Glasgow, Scotland in 1849 as Arthur and Fraser. By 1891 it was known as Fraser & Sons. The company grew steadily during the early 20th century, but after the Second World War, a large number of acquisitions would transform the company into a national chain.
The cotton book of N M Rothschild:a extile order book, June 1801-July 1804 containing samples of cloth pasted into a small volume, which serves as a reference to clients' orders.
2015 Rothschild advise Network Rail
Rothschild advised Network Rail on its extensive property portfolio. Rothschild has been involved with railway finance and advice for over 175 years. The Rothschild banks remained aloof from the railway mania in 1830s Britain, but carried them forward into continental and later world-wide investment in rail systems. In the nineteenth century alone, the London house handled over twenty loans to bring railways to Austria (South Austrian, Lombardo, Venetian and Central Italian Railway) France (including the Chemin de fer de Nord), Spain (Madrid - Zaragoza Railway, in conjunction with the French Rothschilds), Burma (Burma Railways Company Limited), Russia (Imperial Russian Livny Narrow Guage Railway) and Brazil (Bahia and San Francisco Railway Company). The London bank participated in the funding of London Underground Electric Railways in the 1920s and 1930s.
Detail of bond for Midi Railway Company loan 1922 showing a locomotive of the company.
2015 Rothschild advise on the sale of the 'Financial Times'
1n 2015, Rothschild advised Pearson on the sale of The Financial Times to Japan's Nikkei Group for £884m. Rothschild has considerable experience in the media sector, acting as financial adviser and providing or arranging finance to companies. Rothschilds' involvement has encompassed all aspects of the media industry - printing and publishing, television and radio, film, video and music and advertising. In the area of printing and publishing, NMR has acted for major newspapers, publishing houses and printing companies such as The Telegraph, Rogers Communications, The New York Times Company, Hodder Headline, Paramount Development Ltd, Reuters Simon & Schuster and Beaverbrook Newspapers. In 1964, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild joined the Board of The Economist, and served as its chairman from 1972 until 1989.
The Financial Times.
2015 Paris Orléans becomes Rothschild & Co
In 2015, the parent company of the Rothschild Group, formerly known as Paris Orléans changed its name to Rothschild & Co. The founders of Paris Orléans, in 1838, would certainly never have originally imagined that their company would one day become one of the flagships of the Rothschild family, with its seven generations of dedicated services to finance worldwide.
Bond for the original Paris Orléans Railway Company.
2015 Ariane de Rothschild appointed CEO, Edmond de Rothschild Group
In January 2015, Baronee Ariane de Rothschild was appointed chairwoman of the Executive Committee of the Edmond de Rothschild Group. Ariane de Rothschild was born in El Salvador. She became a broker at Société Générale in New York, and then joined the US insurance group AIG. She married Benjamin de Rothschild in 1999 and the couple have four daughters. Ariane de Rothschild has been a board member of the major entities of the Edmond de Rothschild Group. The Edmond de Rothschild Group was founded in 1953 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild and presided over since 1997 by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. The Group specialises in Asset Management and Private Banking. The Group has 2800 employees spread across 31 offices, branches and subsidiaries throughout the world. In addition to its core businesses of Asset Management and Private Banking, the Group is also active in Corporate Finance, Private Equity and Fund Administration.
Logo of the Group Edmond de Rothschild.
2016 Rothschild & Co establishes Chicago office
In September, Rothschild & Co announced the opening of a Chicago office, reflecting the continued growth of Rothschild Global Advisory in North America. Located at 77 West Wacker Drive, the Chicago office will serve Rothschild & Co’s global client base. Rothschild Global Advisory’s North American business has advised on a number of high-profile transactions involving Chicago and Midwest-based businesses.
Panoramic view of Chicago.
2017 Rothschild & Co completes merger with Compagnie Financière Martin Maurel
In summer 2016, Rothschild & Co agreed a merger with Compagnie Financière Martin Maurel, a Marseilles-based wealth management business and private bank, for €240 million (£190 million). The move creates one of the top private banks in France, with combined assets of €34 billion in the country.
Rothschild & Co logo.
2017 Rothschild Global Advisory opens a new wholly owned subsidiary in Tokyo (Rothschild Japan, Co Ltd)
Building on its eight partnership, Rothschild Global Advisory (RGA) and Global Advisory Japan Co. Ltd. (GA Japan) opened a new wholly owned subsidiary in Tokyo (Rothschild Japan, Co Ltd), on 1 April 2017. In the past eight years, Rothschild has advised on 62 outbound cross-border M&A transactions with a total value of USD50bn.
2017 Rothschild advises on Government privatisation
The UK government is midway through one of the largest rounds of privatisation. It is being advised by Rothschild on the sale of GBP11.8bn of Bradford & Bingley mortgages and the first round securitization of GBP4bn in income contingent student loans.
Rothschild & Co.
2017 Rothschild Global Advisory continues expansion in North America with the opening of San Francisco Bay Area office
The Bay Area office is the seventh Rothschild & Co office in North America. The US and North American markets are a strategic priority and the new office in Silicon Valley is another key piece in Rothschild & Co's plan to build the business in the US.
2017 Rothschild advises Notting Hill Housing on £400m bond issue
Building on a 140-year old history of supporting social enterprise, Rothschild advised the Notting Hill Housing Group on their £400m bond at a 3.25 per cent coupon at the start of October after receiving £800m of orders from investors. In 1885, Nathaniel, first Lord Rothschild had created the Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company Ltd to provide "the industrial classes with commodious and healthy Dwellings at a minimum rent". '