George Henry Robert Child-Villiers
Image: portrait of George Henry Robert Child-Villiers, undated © RBS 2018
George Henry Robert Child-Villiers (1873-1923) was managing partner of Child & Co, 1915-23.
George Henry Robert Child-Villiers was born on 2 June 1873. He was the eldest son of Victor Albert George Child-Villiers, 7th Earl of Jersey and his wife Margaret Elizabeth Leigh.
Child-Villiers succeeded to the title of Earl of Jersey upon his father’s death in 1915, becoming the 8th Earl of Jersey. He also became principal proprietor and managing partner of the family’s banking firm, Child & Co.
At the end of the First World War banking underwent a series of amalgamations which led to the emergence of a so-called ‘big five’ banks. Observing this transformation, the Earl concluded that it would be in the best interests of his bank’s clients for Child & Co to amalgamate with one of these big five. Lloyds Bank expressed an interest, and negotiations began in 1923.
There was, however, significant resistance to the proposed acquisition among Child’s staff and clients. Additionally, public concern was growing over the effects on competition of the increasing dominance of the big five. Before the negotiations could be completed, Montagu Norman, governor of the Bank of England, intervened to stop them.
At the end of 1923 some kind of amalgamation became all the more necessary when the Earl of Jersey died. His heirs were required to pay substantial death duties, and the money could only be raised by selling the bank. At Montagu Norman’s suggestion, an agreement was reached with Glyn, Mills & Co, one of the few other remaining private banks in the City. The amalgamation went ahead in 1924, although Child & Co retained its own name and separate identity within the merged bank.
The Earl held the political office of Lord-in-Waiting briefly in 1919. He also served as a Justice of the Peace for Middlesex, Justice of the Peace for Oxfordshire and Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.
Family life and death
On 8 October 1908 George Henry Robert Child-Villiers married Lady Cynthia Almina Constance Mary Needham, daughter of Francis Charles Needham, 3rd Earl of Kilmorey. They had four children together: George Francis; Joan; Edward Mansel; and Ann.
The 8th Earl of Jersey died on 31 December 1923, at the age of 50. His eldest son George Francis Child-Villiers succeeded to his title, becoming the 9th Earl of Jersey.
Related publications and online sources
- ‘George Henry Robert Child-Villiers, 8th Earl of the Island of Jersey’ on peerage.com
- Child & Co: A History (Edinburgh: privately published by The Royal Bank of Scotland, 2002)