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Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918)

Alfred de Rothschild (1842-1918) attended King's College School, and subsequently Trinity College, Cambridge where he studied Mathematics for two terms. It was at Trinity College that Alfred formed a lasting friendship with the Prince of Wales, (later King Edward VII). At the age of 21, Alfred became a partner at N M Rothschild & Sons at New Court. It was here that he learnt the business of banking from his father and made valuable contacts in European banking circles, and while he was perhaps in the shadow of his brother, Natty, he was keen that his voice should be heard in policy discussions. 

In 1868, at the age of 26, Alfred became a director of the Bank of England, the first Jew to be appointed. Alfred's wide social circle formed a useful source of information, much appreciated by the Paris House in particular, and also supplied a long list of private clients, including many from the world of entertainment. The finances of Nelly Melba, Adelina Patti, Arthur Sullivan and Henry Irving all received a boost through the benign intervention of Alfred. 

Alfred liked to move in diplomatic circles, and arranged numerous meetings to promote Anglo-German relations, and before the First World War he was Consul-General for Austria in London. In spite of lifelong hypochondria, Alfred survived his two brothers, and struggled on at New Court through the First World War which he had tried so much to prevent through his diplomatic efforts. A file in the Special Subjet Correspondence series XI/111 (XI/111/78) contains political telegrams and correspondence (mainly in German or code) sent by Alfred from New Court to Sir Julius Blum, Vienna and  Dr. Paul Schwabach, Berlin), 1912-1913.

Business papers of Alfred de Rothschild

 

The Archive holds little of Baron Lionel de Rothschild's private and business correspondence; it is believed that much of his private collection of papers was destroyed by his executors in accordance with his wishes. A series of copy letters, Private Letters to the Paris House, 1906-1914 is preserved in the records of the Correspondence Department. This series consists of copies of letters sent from New Court to the cousins in Paris, mainly signed by Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915), and occasionally supplemented by letters from Leopold de Rothschild or Alfred. They have survived in spite of the instruction from the first Lord Rothschild that his correspondence should be destroyed after his death, and sadly represent the only record of the thoughts of the senior partners as expressed to the sister house at this time, as no trace of the original correspondence can be found in the archives of de Rothschild Frères. The letters are concerned with political and financial developments at home and abroad, but also record family events. Go to the Correspondence Department »  See also Family Papers: Alfred de Rothschild

Alfred de Rothschild: sundry business correspondence and papers, 1834-1915

000/573/16, 1 file

This collection of papers originates from a tin trunk labelled 'Box 64' from the New Court vault. The trunk contained sundry 'documents of historical interest' selected from the Archive by an unknown hand, possibly by Charles Rothschild (1877-1923). This small cache of 'sundry papers' including correspondence with Winston Churchill are believed to have originated from the desk of Alfred de Rothschild and may have been sent to the vault when his desk was cleared after his death. The papers include:

  • Letter, 16 September 1834, wishing Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1808-1879) a happy and successful journey through Spain;
  • Letter, 29 January 1846 from Naples, recommending Mlle Caglioni, the Italian dancer, to such services as NM Rothschild & Sons could render her;
  • Letter, 7 July 1890 from Lord Salisbury to the Brazilian Minister, Souza Correa, inspecting the conditions under which the British Government could recognise the new Brazilian Government;
  • Copy letter, 7 December 1892 from Alfred de Rothschild to Sir William Harcourt regarding a 'Silver Conference' being held in Brussels;
  • Letter, 8 August 1893 from Lidderdale at the Bank of England to Alfred de Rothschild regarding silver currency;
  • Sundry copy letters from Alfred de Rothschild to the Governor of the Bank of England concerning business affairs of Lord Rosebery;
  • Sundry telegrams received by Alfred de Rothschild from Blum in Vienna, 1914;
  • Letter, 17 April 1915 from Winston Churchill, Admiralty to Alfred de Rothschild asking him to pass on a message to the Financial Minister of Brazil to ensure a large delivery of “rifles urgently needed by the British Government”;
  • Letter, 27 December from [a brother] in Vienna regarding a marriage contract and a sum of £100,000.
  • Letter, regarding the receipt of a courier, Madrid;
  • Notebook with names of dinner guests, 3 March 1838-28 June 1840;
  • Volume containing notes of various financial operations, including the Brazilian 5% Loan. 
  • Combined purse and notebook, containing diary entries dated 29 June 1835.

Alfred de Rothschild: sundry business correspondence with Lloyd George, 1914-1915

000/573/16, 1 file

This collection of papers originates from a tin trunk labelled 'Box 64' from the New Court vault. The trunk contained sundry 'documents of historical interest' selected from the Archive by an unknown hand, possibly by Charles Rothschild (1877-1923). This small cache of correspondence with LLoyd George orginated from the desk of Alfred de Rothschild and may have been sent to the vault when his desk was cleared after his death. 

  • Copy letter, 13 August 1914 from Alfred de Rothschild to LLoyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer congratulating him on his handling of financial matters;
  • Letter, 13 August 1914 from Lloyd George to Alfred de Rothschild, thanking him for his letter of congratulations;
  • Letter, 21 August 1914 from Lloyd George to Alfred de Rothschild, asking for his opinion on the “Moratorium and Banking facilities” and “Accepting Houses”;
  • Letter, 14 May 1915 from Lloyd George to Alfred de Rothschild relating to renewing Chilean Bills and the amounts borrowed by the Argentine Government;
  • Letter, July 1915 from Lloyd George to Alfred de  Rothschild, thanking him for a letter of congratulation;
  • Letter, 2 August 1915 from Lloyd George to Charles Rothschild (1877-1923) on stopping imports of cotton from entering Germany.

Alfred de Rothschild, Bimetallism Conference, Brussels International Monetary Conference, sundry correspondence and papers, 1892

000/253, 2 files, 2 volumes

Papers concerning the 1892 Bimetallism Conference, Brussels International Monetary Conference. Alfred de Rothschild attended the conference: two printed reports 1892; original correspondence of Alfred de Rothschild to his brothers, from The Brussels International Monetary Conference, 1892; typed transcripts of these letters (original ref: Partners Room 46/40).