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James Edmond Armand de Rothschild, DCM, OC. MP "Jimmy"

5 Kislev 5639 (01 December 1878)
6 Iyyar 5717 (07 May 1957)

Basic Information

Unique reference:


Date of birth:
5 Kislev 5639 (01 December 1878)
Place of birth:
Paris, France


Date of death:
6 Iyyar 5717 (07 May 1957)
Died in combat?:
Place of death:
Waddesdon Manor, Beds.
Burial place:
Willesden Jewish Cemetery Section P, Row 17, Plot 405



Parents' Home:
re de Faubourg Saint Honore Paris, France (1878)
London Home:
23 St James Place London (1953)
Inherited it from his aunt. He and his wife left it to the National Trust :
Waddesdon Manor Aylesbury


Lycee Louis le Grand
Trinity College


Central Synagogue, Gt Portland Street, London
 < Close personal journey map
Personal Journey map
James Edmond Armand de Rothschild, DCM, OC. MP


Described by the Journal of Liberal History as "one of the Liberal Party's most colourful MPs",[5]Rothschild served as Liberal Member of Parliament for the Isle of Ely constituency from 1929 to 1945.[6]
His defeat by Harry Legge-Bourke in the 1945 general election was one of only a few gains by the Conservative Party that year, with his Liberal colleagues Archibald Sinclair and William Beveridgesimilarly losing to Tory opponents.
During the Second World War he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply in the Coalition Government 1940-1945. He was also a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of London and a Justice of the Peace in Buckinghamshire.


James Armand Edmond de Rothschild was the eldest child of Edmond de Rothschild of Paris, where he was born, in the house on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, on 1 December 1878.
During three years at Cambridge University, he developed his Rothschild tastes, particularly horse racing and golf, further. He subsequently became a successful racehorse owner.
On 25 February 1913 he married Dorothy Pinto and the couple divided their time between a house in Park Street, London, and an apartment on the Champs Elysées in Paris.
After war service, during which time he visited Palestine and saw something of his father's achievements there, he applied for British citizenship. In 1922, Jimmy inherited Waddesdon Manor and Eythrope from his cousin Alice and he and Dollie settled into this new career, becoming involved with the political and social life of the area.
Jimmy sat in the House of Commons as Liberal MP for the Isle of Ely from 1929 to 1945, and was considered one of the wittiest members in the House. He was also Deputy Lieutenant for the City of London.
During the Second World War, when Jimmy was Joint Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Supply, the Waddesdon estate became home to a group of Jewish refugees from Frankfurt. Jimmy became more involved with the new Jewish state, liquidating his father's PICA organisation and making available in his will the funds to establish Yad Hanadiv.
He died at Waddesdon Manor on 7 May 1957.


Constance Flower, Lady Battersea was the elder daughter of Baron Anthony de Rothschild and Louise Montefiore. She was only twenty months older than her sister, Anne, and they remained very close for the whole of their lives. Despite her parents disapproval at marrying outside the Jewish faith, in 1877 she married Cyril Flower, later Lord Battersea, a property magnate and liberal politician. She was a renowned philanthropist; as a very young woman she had taught in the local village schools round their home at Aston Clinton and at the Jewish Free School in London as a married woman she combined a lavish social life with charitable activities and writing. As can be seen from her letter below she was also a friend and confidante to the younger members of her family.
On Tuesday 25 February 1913 James (Jimmy) de Rothschild, married Dorothy Pinto, daughter of Mr Eugene Pinto, a London stockbroker. It had been a whirlwind engagement of only five and half weeks filled with visits to many of James’s friends and extended family including a week with his family in Paris. James was a scion of the French Rothschild family, the eldest son of Baron Edmond de Rothschild and his wife Adelhäide. Although born in Paris in 1878, he was educated in England and spent much time in London, where he indulged his passions for racing and golf. Later, he would fight in the Ist World War and become a highly-regarded Liberal MP. Dorothy was not yet 18 and had only just been promoted to dining with her parents at 7:45 and nothing in her childhood had prepared her for life in the Rothschild family. James, on the other hand, with his close circle of friends including the Hon. Neil Primrose and, was a highly eligible bachelor who made frequent appearances in the society pages of the newspapers.
The wedding itself took place at 2pm in the Central Synagogue on Great Portland Street, London and was described by the Times as “one of the most brilliant affairs of the season”. The congregation contained many members of the Rothschild and Pinto families as well as the elite of society and from Liberal and Jewish circles.
Dorothy wore a beautiful dress of soft white charmeuse draped with old lace with a veil over a wreath of orange blossom and myrtle. She carried a bouquet of white flowers and wore jewels by Boucheron of Paris, a gift from her parents-in-law. The synagogue was decorated with palms, white lilac and arum lilies and the outer hall with palms and spring flowers. The ceremony was followed by a reception at 1 Carlton Place, hosted by Dorothy’s parents. The couple then set up home in London, although the pattern of their married life was almost immediately truncated by the outbreak of the 1st World War. In 1922, their lives changed again when James inherited Waddesdon from his great-aunt Alice – hence the presence of this letter in the Archives at the Manor.
Constance Battersea writes to Dorothy’s mother the day after the wedding to apologise for the fact that she could not stay on for the reception and is effusive in her congratulations on the occasion. The letter is a charming example from a time when letters were used much as we now use email or social media and written and received on the same day. Despite its brevity I feel it gives a real sense of the liveliness of Constance Battersea’s character and the relationship she had with her young cousin.
Transcription of the letter:
Hamble Cliff
Feb. 26. 1913
Dear Mrs Pinto
I was alas! unable to go to your house yesterday after the ceremony, as I had to catch a train, but I was at synagogue & feel that I must write and congratulate you upon the charming appearance of the bride, who was everything that a bride should be – the embodiment of freshness, sweetness, purity & goodness.
Jimmy is indeed a fortunate man to have won her. I think that their married life will be a very happy one. As they will be spending much of their time in London I shall look forward to seeing more of Dorothy. Jimmy and I are old friends & so I shall claim also his wife’s friendship, if she will let me.
I trust that you are not over tired from all the fatigue & excitement of the last weeks; pray believe me to be, with kind regards to Mr Pinto,
Yours sincerely,
Constance Battersea


After Israel became a country in 1948, he donated six million Israeli pounds towards the construction of the Knesset (legislature) building in Jerusalem that was completed in 1966. He died at the age of 78. After his death, he bequeathed his Waddesdon Manor residence to the National Trust.


James de Rothschild, who died in 1957, instructed in his will that the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA) should transfer most of its land in Israel to the Jewish National Fund. On December 31, 1958 PICA agreed to vest its right to land holdings in Syria and Lebanon in the State of Israel.



Dorothy Pinto (female)
Other surname / Maiden name:
de Rothschild
Place of marriage:
Central Synagogue, Gt Portland Street, London
Country of marriage:


Maurice Edmond Karl (male)
Myriam Caroline Alexandrine de Rothschild (female)


Parent: Edmond
Mother: Adelheid von Rothschild (female)

Military Record

Military service:
French Army
Rank at discharge/death:
Royal Canadian Dragoons
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Royal Fusiliers
39th Bttn

Other Occupations

Type of employment:
Member of Parliament
Date started:
Date left:
Member for the Isle of Ely
Liberal Member


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London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

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