Sir Evelyn de Rothschild (1931-2022)
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Aged 26, Evelyn, (later Sir Evelyn) joined N M Rothschild & Sons to be trained in the family's business, following in the steps of his father. In 1976 Sir Evelyn 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, whereby his French cousin, Baron David de Rothschild took the Chairmanship.
Business papers of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild
Currently, most business papers relating to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild's Chairmanship of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited remain held by the business.
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild: Letters of congratulation received on his appointment as Chairman of 'The Economist', 1972
000/2772/1, 2 volumes
Two black folders Evelyn de Rothschild, The Economist, Vol 1 and Vol 2. The volumes contain letters of congratulations sent to Mr Evelyn de Rothschild, and press cuttings on his appointment as Chairman of The Economist Newspaper Ltd, 'in succession to the late Lord Crowther. Mr de Rothschild has been a director of the company since 1964.' The appointment was announced in The Economist on 19 February 1972.
Chairman’s Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, 'The American Festival', Official Programme, 1985
000/1898, 1 item
Copy of America, May 1985, the magazine and full official programme of 'The American Festival'. N M Rothschild & sons Limited was a sponsor of the festival which was a celebration of American arts & entertainments in Britain. Sir Evelyn de Rothschild was the Chairman of the Executive Committee.
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild: NMR Bicentenary 1998: Bicentenary volume, 'The World's Banker: the history of the house of Rothschild', letters of thanks received, 1998
000/2766, 4 volumes
Four volumes (bound in black leather) of letters of thanks received by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Chairman N M Rothschild & Sons Limited for gifts of copies of The World's Banker: the history of the house of Rothschild. The letters are from Rothschild family members, notable statesmen and women, politicians, academics and senior figures from business and finance. Most writers were personal friends of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.
- Volume I: Letters received from Rothschild family; Letters received from persons A-E;
- Volume II: Letters received from persons F-L;
- Volume III; Letters received from persons M-R;
- Volume IV: Letters received from persons S-Z.
The year 1998 marked 200 years since Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836), the third son of Mayer Amschel Rothschid (1744-1812), set off from Frankfurt to England, and so laid the foundations of the business that was to become N M Rothschild & Sons. The then chairman of NMR, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, was determined that the firm should mark this auspicious anniversary in a number of ways. Sir Evelyn had commissioned the historian Professor Niall Ferguson to produce the first comprehensive history of the London banking house, stipulating that the volume be ready for publication in the bicentenary year. The World's Banker: the history of the house of Rothschild, Niall Ferguson (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998) was duly published in 1998, after lengthy research in The Rothschild Archive, and other archives in the UK and Europe.
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild: NMR Bicentenary 1998: exhibition, 'The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836', letters of thanks received, 1998
000/831, 1 file
File of letters of thanks sent to Sir Evelyn and Victoria, Lady de Rothschild for invitations to the reception held at the Museum of London to open the Bicentenary exhibition. The year 1998 marked 200 years since Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836), the third son of Mayer Amschel Rothschid (1744-1812), set off from Frankfurt to England, and so laid the foundations of the business that was to become N M Rothschild & Sons. The then chairman of NMR, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, was determined that the firm should mark this auspicious anniversary in a number of ways. A major exhibition was conceived and planned. The NMR Bicentenary exhibition, The Life & Times of NMR, 1777-1836 (Museum of London/NMR) opened at the Museum of London on 28 January 1998, and ran until 28 July.
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild: 'Bicentenary Gold Bar', letter of thanks received from the Bank of England, 1998
000/662, 1 item
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild: 'Bicentenary Gold Bar', letter of thanks received from the Bank of England. As part of the celebrations by NMR in 1998 marking the bicentenary of the arrival of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1744-1812) in the UK in 1798, NMR presented a gold bar to the Bank of England, intended for display in the permanent gold exhibit in the Bank of England Museum. Letter from Eddie George, Governor of Bank of England, thanking Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Chairman N M Rothschild & Sons Ltd. for the gift of a gold bar, 1 July 1998.
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild: secondary sources, 'The Role of the Investment Bank in Commercialisation of State Industries in Europe', 1999
000/1483, 1 VHS cassette
Video, The Role of the Investment Bank in Commercialisation of State Industries in Europe, 1999. This 16 minute video produced by CCTV (China Central Television) (in Chinese) includes interviews with Sir Evelyn de Rothschild (dubbed and subtitled) in which he talks about privatisation, especially the privatisation of British Rail.
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild: sundry press cuttings, 1980-2004
000/547, 000/1144, 000/1500, 000/1729, 000/2022, 000/2772/2, 1 folder, 2 volumes, 3 items
Sundry press cuttings from the NMR Chairman's office (Sir Evelyn de Rothschild):
- Two volumes of press cuttings from British newspapers (mostly published in September 1980) concerning the dispute between Mr Evelyn de Rothschild and Mr Jacob Rothschild over the use of the 'Rothschild' name between N M Rothschild & Sons Limited and RIT in September 1980.
- Folder of press cuttings supplied by Kekst and Company, New York concerning Rothschild business activity in the United States (New York), July 1981;
- Business Magazine, December 1987, containing article ‘Inside the House of Rothschild’;
- Cutting from The Spectator, 15 October 1988, article 'The Privateers of Privatisation' by Dominic Lawson. The article is an 'investigation of the links between N.M. Rothschild and 10 Downing Street';
- Copy of The Institutional Investor, May 1992, article 'What's in a name?: the ties that confine at N.M. Rothschild'. The article explores the expansion ambitions of the London banking house and perceived divisions within the Rothschild family;
- Le Monde, L'Economie supplement, 2 June 1992, containing an article 'L'Europe des Rothschild', claiming Baron David de Rothschild (b.1942) will succeed Sir Evelyn de Rothschild as Chairman of NMR;
- Euromoney, May 1993, article 'The Rothschilds' Global Ambitions'. The article explores plans to integrate operations of the historic London bank with the new French business headed by Baron David de Rothschild;
- The Jewish Chronicle Magazine, 28 January 1994, article '200 years of the Rothschild Dynasty';
- Cutting from New York Times, 27 October 1996, ‘Restoring the House of Rothschild: French and British cousins are banking together again’;
- Vanity Fair, November 1997 featuring Sir Evelyn de Rothschild photographed by Helmut Newton in the NMR vault.
- Brazil Business Brief vol. 7, no. 30, September 2004 and special supplement. The newsletter covers the Personality of the Year Awards, awarded to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, engraving, 'City of Frankfurt, 1845' , c.1845
000/1477, 1 item
Engraving of the 'City of Frankfurt, 1845' in a contemporary modern frame. Engraved map (scale 1: 6,500). Includes view of Frankfurt from Sachshausen. Legend in German, English and French. A revision of the 1837 map published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, London. "Meyers Handatlas No. 62." The plate has been extracted from from Meyer's Grosser Handatlas, by Joseph Meyer, published between 1843-1860. This engraving was originally presented to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild on the occasion of his standing down as Chair of the European Association for Banking History on 28 May 2004. It is now displayed at New Court.
Chairman’s Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, 'Report of a visit by Mr Evelyn de Rothschild to Rio Tinto in 1953', 2000
000/1474, 4 volumes
Report of a visit by Mr Evelyn de Rothschild to Rio Tinto in 1953. As a young man, Evelyn de Rothschild visited Rio Tinto in 1953, producing a typescript report of his experiences, illustrated with original black and white photographs. This original report can be found in the Affaires series files, XI/4/210. In 2000, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild privately published the report as Rio Tinto 1953: An Illustrated Account of the Visit of Three Undergraduates to the Minas de Rio Tinto and their Impressions of them. (privately printed for NMR, London, 2000).
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild: Commemorative Millennium stamp album, 2000
000/2772/3, 1 volume
Boxed leather bound stamp album (embossed with the logo of Merrill Lynch & Co.), a gift to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild from David H .Komansky, Chairman and Chief Executive, Merrill Lynch & Co.Inc, New York to commemorate 'the dawn of a new millennium'. The volume contains a covering letter to Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, and contains stamps issued from around the world in 1999.
Chairman’s Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild: '50 years of service' celebrations, ephemera, commemorative booklet and photographs, 2005
000/1543, 000/1552, 000/1569, 1 file, 1 VHS cassette, 1 DVD, 1 digital folder
Sir Evelyn de Rothschild joined the family firm in 1955, and was made a Partner in N M Rothschild & Sons in 1959. On Tuesday 10 May 2005, NMR held a special reception at The UnderGlobe, Shakespeare's Globe, to celebrate Sir Evelyn's 50 years of service with NMR. A portrait of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild was commissioned by the Board of NMR to mark Sir Evelyn's 50 years of service; Mr Leopold de Rothschild (1927-2012) took charge of the commission. The portrait, showing Sir Evelyn three-quarter length, standing behind his desk, was by Sergei Pavlenko. The portrait can now be found in the Archive (000/2846).
- Guest list;
- Booklet, 50 years of service by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild and the unveiling of his portrait at The UnderGlobe, Shakespeare's Globe, Tuesday 10 May 2005;
- digital copies of photographs of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild used in the commemorative booklet and display panels (now destroyed) that were displayed at the event;
- photographs taken at the event;
- copies of the film (on VHS Cassette and DVD) made of the occasion. The 32 minute film includes speeches about Sir Evelyn de Rothschild's career and features notable guests at the event, including Rothschild family members and NMR staff. (000/1569).
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Privatisation of British Gas, sundry press cuttings, 1986
000/1509, 1 folder
Chairman's Office, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Privatisation of British Gas: sundry press cuttings
British Gas can trace its origins back to 1812, when The Gas Light and Coke Company was the first public utility company in the world. It continued to thrive for the next 136 years, absorbing many smaller local gas companies. In 1948, the Labour administration of Clement Attlee nationalised gas production and distribution, creating 12 regional Gas Boards. The British Gas Corporation was created in 1972. The second Conservative Government of Margaret Thatcher introduced the Gas Act in 1986 which led to the privatisation of the company, and created Ofgas to protect customer needs.
The Conservative Government came to power in the spring of 1979, with a manifesto commitment to seek greater private participation in what were then huge state-owned industries. The word 'privatisation' is believed to have been coined by David Howell, one of Margaret Thatcher's confidantes early in her premiership. The entire privatisation programme of successive governments developed out of this manifesto commitment. An early champion of the policy was Nigel Lawson, who served as Secretary of State for Energy before becoming Chancellor, and was in charge of the early privatisations that took place under the Department of Energy. In 1986, the Government turned to Rothschild to undertake the huge task of selling British Gas. Rothschild had already acted for governments in this capacity, in 1971, advising on the sale of investments in the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation, in the mid-1970s advising the Labour Government on participation in the oil industry, and, in 1984 advising the first Conservative administration on the sale of the first tranche of British Telecom shares.The intense promotional campaign in 1986 featured TV adverts in which characters urged each other to "Tell Sid" about the chance to buy shares at 'affordable' prices. This was a deliberate strategy aimed at encouraging individuals to become shareholders, expanding share ownership to create, in the words of Prime Minister Margraret Thatcher, a 'share-owning democracy. And who was Sid? Rothschild legend has it that 'Sid' – meant to represent the man on the street – was the name of one of the post-room clerks at New Court. The real Sid passed away in 2016.
- Cutting from The Sun, 14 November 1986, concerning Sid Ansell, working in the post room at NMR. The newspaper was 'looking for' the original Sid behind the marketing campaign for the sell off of British Gas shares to the public, which was being handled by NMR;
- press cuttings of newspaper advertisements announcing the British Gas share offering.
Note: The Rothschild Archive holds no papers relating to the privatisation work carried out by NMR; papers remain with the business. For published sources on privatisation, see:
- The Official History of Privatisation, Volume I: The Formative Years 1970-1987, David Parker (Routledge, London, 2009)
- The Official History of Privatisation, Volume II: Popular Capitalism 1987-1997, David Parker (Routledge, London, 2012)