Robert Brand

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Person.png Robert Brand  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(Deep politician, banker)
Robert Henry Brand.png
Born30 October 1878
Died23 August 1963 (Age 84)
Alma materMarlborough College, Oxford/New College
Member ofCliveden Set
Leader of the Milner Group from 1940

Robert Henry Brand, 1st Baron Brand was a British civil servant and banker at Lloyds Bank and Lazard Brothers, and a central member of the Milner Group.

Early life

Brand was born on 30 October 1878. He was the fourth son of the former Susan Henrietta Cavendish and Henry Brand, 2nd Viscount Hampden, Governor of New South Wales. His three surviving brothers also gained distinction: Thomas Brand, 3rd Viscount Hampden, and the Honourable Roger Brand were both Brigadier-Generals in the Army while the Honourable Sir Hubert Brand was an Admiral in the Royal Navy.

His mother was a daughter of Lord George Cavendish and his father was a son of Henry Brand, 1st Viscount Hampden, Speaker of the House of Commons.

Brand was educated at Marlborough College and graduated from New College, Oxford in 1901. He was subsequently elected Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in November 1901.[1]


From 1902, during the period of reconstruction following the Second Boer War, Brand joined Alfred Milner's Civil Service in South Africa, where he was appointed "Secretary of the Intercolonial Council of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony", and was thus seen as a member of Milner's Kindergarten, which, according to Carroll Quigley, he led from 1955 to 1963. He joined Lazard Brothers and Company in 1909, soon becoming a managing director.[2] Brand was also the "Secretary to the Transvaal Delegates at the South African National Convention".[3] He wrote The Union of South Africa, published by the Oxford University Press in 1909, which University of Cape Town history professor, Leonard M Thompson described as "a lucid analysis of the South African Constitution".[4]

He was also chairman of the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company, and a director of Lloyds Bank.

In 1915, Brand helped establish the Imperial Munitions Board, the Canadian branch of the Ministry of Munitions. From then until 1917, he served as the Board's representative in London, acting as the key link between that body and the Ministry.[5]

Brand and Germany after Versailles

Brand had a large role in the formation of the Milner group's policy toward the defeated Germany. To Brand, as an orthodox international banker, prosperity could be obtained only by an economic system under the control of the old established industrialists and bankers. Brand felt confident that the old economic groups could reestablish prosperity quickly only if they were given concessions in respect to Germany's international financial position by lightening the weight of reparations on Germany and by advancing credit to Germany, chiefly from the United States.

From 1921 onward, the Milner Group and the British government (if the two policies are distinguishable) did all they could to lighten the reparations burden on Germany and to prevent France from using force to collect reparations.[6]

World War 2

The Milner Group had based most of its foreign policy since 1920 on the hope of "closer union" with the United States, and they realized that American intervention in the war was absolutely essential to insure a British victory. Accordingly, more than a dozen members of the Group were in Washington during the war, seeking to carry on this policy.

Lord Brand was in America from March 1941 to May 1946, as head of the British Food Mission for three years and as representative of the British Treasury for two years. He was also chairman of the British Supply Council in North America in 1942 and again in 1945-1946. He did not resign his position as managing director of Lazard Brothers until May 1944, after appointing his nephew Thomas Brand as placeholder.

Closely associated with Brand was his protege, Adam D. Marris, son of Sir William Marris of the Kindergarten, who was employed at Lazard Brothers from 1929 to the outbreak of war, then spent a brief period in the Ministry of Economic Warfare in London. In 1940 he came to the Embassy in Washington, originally as First Secretary, later as Counselor. After the war he was, for six months, secretary general of the Emergency Economic Committee for Europe. In February 1946 he returned to Lazard Brothers.


In the 1909 Birthday Honours, he was appointed to the Order of St Michael and St George as a Companion (CMG), for "services as Secretary to the Central South African Railways Board".[7][8] In the 1946 Birthday Honours, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Brand, of Eydon in the County of Northampton for "services as Representative of H.M. Treasury in Washington".[9]

Personal life

Lord Brand married Phyllis, daughter of Chiswell Dabney Langhorne and sister of Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor, in 1917. They had three children:

  • Virginia Brand (1918–1995), who married John Metcalfe Polk (1908–1948), the son of Frank Polk, the former United States Under Secretary of State, in 1952.[10] After Polk's death in 1948, Virginia married Maj. Edward Ford (1910–2006), son of Lionel Ford, in 1949.[11]
  • Dinah Brand (1920–1998), who married Commander Lyttleton Fox. They divorced and she remarried Christopher Charles Cyprian Bridge (1918–1993), son of Charles E. Dunscombe Bridge.
  • Robert James Brand (1923–1945), who was killed in action in the Second World War.

Phyllis died in January 1937. Lord Brand remained a widower until his death in August 1963, aged 84. As his only son had predeceased him, the barony died with him.


  1. "University intelligence". The Times (36605). London. 6 November 1901. p. 4.
  2. Kathleen Burk. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. Brand, Robert Henry (1909). The Union of South Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. Title page.
  4. Thompson, LM (1960). The Unification of South Africa 1902-1910. Oxford: Claredon Press. pp. vi.
  6. Carroll Quigley The Anglo-American Establishment
  7. p. 4477.
  8. page=676