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Teresa Georgina (Tess) Rothschild (née Mayor) (1915-1996)

Teresa, Lady Rothschild (née Mayor) (1915-1996) known as 'Tess', was a British counter-intelligence officer and magistrate. She was the second wife of Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild. She was born Teresa Georgina Mayor in London, the daughter of Robert John Grote Mayor (1869–1947), a civil servant working for the Board of Education, and his wife, (Katherine) Beatrice Mayor, née Meinertzhagen (1885–1971), a poet and playwright. Her paternal grandfather was Joseph Bickersteth Mayor, brother of John E. B. Mayor and nephew of Henry Bickersteth, 1st Baron Langdale and Rev. Edward Bickersteth. Her father was the brother of English novelist F. M. Mayor and a great-nephew of the historian George Grote, philosopher John Grote, and colonial administrator Arthur Grote. Her maternal grandmother, Katherine Beatrice Meinertzhagen, was the sister of soldier Richard Meinertzhagen and the niece of author Beatrice Webb. Brought up in progressive circles, Lady Rothschild was educated at Bedales School from 1929 to 1934, and was head girl, followed in 1935 by Newnham College, Cambridge, where she was "the most celebrated actress of her day".


Tess Rothschild was as much a Cambridge figure as her husband Victor. After Cambridge, she worked for the publisher Jonathan Cape. During the Second World War, she was recruited by MI5 to work as assistant to Victor Rothschild, working in anti-sabotage operations; she was appointed an MBE for throwing a bomb off a bridge. Victor's first marriage had ended, and in they married in 1946. They lived at Merton Hall, and then they built a house on Herschel Road where their children grew up.

She became a magistrate, and was Chairman of the Bench, and was a lecturer at the Cambridge Institute of Criminology, and she sat on various Home Office boards investigating the subject of penal reform. She was a trustee of Cambridge's Arts Theatre.

See also Nathaniel Mayer (Victor) Rothschild »