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Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild (1910-1990)

Nathaniel Mayer Victor Rothschild, 3rd Lord Rothschild, (1910-1990), was a biologist, a cricketer, a wartime officer for the UK Security Service (MI5), a senior executive with Royal Dutch Shell and N M Rothschild & Sons, and an advisor to UK government.

He attended Harrow and Trinity College Cambridge, where he worked in the Zoology Department before gaining a PhD in 1935. Victor became the third Lord Rothschild in 1937 on the death of his uncle Walter. 

Wartime service

During the Second World War Victor worked for the Intelligence Service, and earned the George Medal for his bomb disposal work. In 1939, he was recruited to work for MI5 where he remained for the duration of the War. He was attached to B division, under deputy director Guy Liddell, responsible for counterespionage.

Post-war research

After the War, Victor combined his academic interests with work for industry, joining the zoology department at Cambridge University. He served as Chairman of the Agricultural Research Council from 1948 to 1958 and in 1961 he began work for Shell Research Ltd., serving as its Chairman from 1963 until his retirement in 1970. Victor was the first Director General of the Central Policy Review Staff from 1971 to 1974 (known popularly as 'The Think Tank'), a unit which researched policy specifically for the Government. In 1976 Victor chaired the Royal Commission on Gambling. In 1982 he published An Enquiry into the Social Science Research Council at the behest of Sir Keith Joseph, and he continued to work in security as an adviser to Margaret Thatcher. Throughout his life he was a valued adviser on intelligence and science to both Conservative and Labour Governments.

Business career

Victor briefly served as Chairman of the family banking business N M Rothschild & Sons Limited in 1976. Later that year, he was succeeded as Chairman by his distant cousin Evelyn de Rothschild; Victor remained a partner in the business until his death. 

Business papers of Victor 3rd Lord Rothschild


The Archive holds no papers of the 3rd Lord Rothschild's tenure as Chairman, N M Rothschild & Sons Limited.