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The Battersea Papers

Papers relating the Constance, Lady Battersea (née de Rothschild (1843-1931), and Cyril Flower, Lord Battersea (1843-1907). 'Connie' spent her earliest years in Paris with her family. In 1847, she moved back to London where she had been born on 29 April 1843, the daughter of Sir Anthony and Lady Louise de Rothschild. She enjoyed a thorough education, including drawing lessons, which was enlivened by sessions of whist with her father. As a girl, Connie became involved with educational issues at the Jews' Free School and around the family estate of Aston Clinton. After her marriage to Cyril Flower, Lord Battersea in 1877, Constance combined a lavish social life with charitable activities, particularly those concerning Anglo-Jewish women, and women's social issues. 

Papers of Lord and Lady Battersea

It is not known what happened to the majority of private papers of Lord and Lady Battersea following their deaths. Lady Battersea would have inherited her husband’s papers after his death in 1907; it is likely that Lady Battersea destroyed her husband’s papers. In 1924, she wrote to her sister, "I am making a holocaust of my correspondence. I have found some queer old things amongst them, very precious best in the flames like Gods in the Valkyrie.”

Lucy Cohen (1861-1961) was one of the executors of the will of Constance, Lady Battersea. In her preface to Lady de Rothschild and her daughters (John Murray, London, 1935) she wrote of Lady Battersea 'She left me her papers, thinking that some of them were worth publishing…' but this is believed to refer only to Lady Battersea’s journals, diaries and some correspondence, not the papers of the late Lord Battersea. It is believed that Lucy Cohen also destroyed a quantity of the papers that were in her charge, although she did make transcripts of Lady Battersea's journals and diaries in preparation for her book Lady de Rothschild and her daughters.

Lucy Cohen did not marry. Her nephew, James Arthur Waley Cohen (1898-1962), is believed to have been gifted her papers, including material that she herself had inherited from Lady Battersea. James Arthur Waley Cohen subsequently deposited some original manuscript material (including Lady Battersea's journals and diaries) with the British Library. A further cache of papers (including the transcripts of the journals and diaries made by Lucy Cohen in preparation for her book Lady de Rothschild and her daughters), he gifted to N M Rothschild & Sons; these can now be found in accession 000/297. 

Access to some of these collections is restricted at the request of the donors and depositors. All papers later than 1945 are currently closed to researchers; for further information please contact The Rothschild Archive »

The Battersea Papers, private papers of Constance, Lady Battersea, 1845-1962

000/297, 6 boxes

Papers of Constance, Lady Battersea, retained in the New Court vaults. These papers were initially deposited with N M Rothschild & Sons Limited by James Arthur Waley Cohen (nephew of Lucy Cohen, one of the executors of Lady Battersea's estate) in June 1956. A memorandum, dated 19 June 1956, kept with the papers states “By an arrangement approved by Mr Edmund [de Rothschild], Mr. J.A.Waley-Cohen of 25, Jermyn Street, S.W.1 has deposited at New Court certain papers relating to the late Lady Battersea. He has promised that on his death they shall become the property of the partners of Messrs N.M.Rothschild & Sons, but that should his sister. Miss Emmeline Waley-Cohen, survive him she should be allowed to have free access to them during her lifetime He has agreed that N.M.R. & Sons shall be at liberty to examine the papers if they wish”.

The collection includes newspaper cuttings; miscellaneous papers; sketches; private correspondence; transcripts of letters sent to her mother and other family members; transcripts of extracts from her journals; transcripts of extracts of correspondence with her mother; correspondence with her husband; transcripts of journals and diaries made by Lucy Cohen in preparation for her book Lady de Rothschild and her daughters, and estate papers. Note: Originals of some of the journals and diaries were deposited with The British Library by James Arthur Waley Cohen.

List available

The Battersea Papers, private papers of Constance, Lady Battersea, 1845-1962

000/1133, 1 box

Papers relating to Constance de Rothschild, (Lady Battersea); postcard views of The Pleasaunce, Overstrand; letters and notes from Constance to ‘Lizzie’ and ‘Harry’ from R.J. Lister at the Pleasaunce, Overstrand, Cromer, Norfolk. Includes a description of an encounter with Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany; one small depiction of the coat of arms of Lord Battersea.

The Battersea Papers, private papers of Cyril Flower, Lord Battersea, executors’ and estate papers, 1863-1907

000/106, 1 box

Executors’ papers of Cyril Flower, Lord Battersea (1843-1907), including accounts, correspondence, share certificates, and legal papers, and papers relating to his father's esate. Cyril Flower married Constance de Rothschild (1843-1931) in 1877. MP for Brecon, and then Luton, in 1892, he was created Lord Battersea, taking his title from the area of London where he (and earlier his father) had developed property. He was later offered the post of Governor of New South Wales, which he declined. The couple had no children.

The Battersea Papers, papers of the trustees of the Overstrand estate, 1907-1962

000/104, 1 box

Papers relating the estate of Constance, Lady Battersea. In 1888, Lord and Lady Battersea bought land at Overstrand, Cromer, where Lutyens built for them a large rambling house called 'The Pleasaunce'. Lord Battersea died in 1907; Constance died at 'The Pleasaunce' on 22 November 1931, the anniversary of her marriage.