Alfred Moritz Mond, 1st Baron Melchett, PC, FRS, DL (23 October 1868 – 27 December 1930), known as Sir Alfred Mond, Bt, between 1910 and 1928, was a British industrialist, financier and politician. In his later life he became an active Zionist.
Mond was born in Farnworth, Widnes, Lancashire, England, the younger son of Ludwig Mond, a chemist and industrialist who had emigrated from Germany, and his wife Frieda, née Löwenthal, both of Jewish extraction. He was educated at Cheltenham College and St. John's College, Cambridge, but failed his natural sciences tripos. He then studied law at the University of Edinburgh and was called to the bar by the Inner Temple in 1894.
Following this he joined his father's business, Brunner Mond & Company as director, later becoming its managing director. He was also managing director of his father's other company the Mond Nickel Company. Other directorships included those of the International Nickel Corporation of Canada, the Westminster Bank and the Industrial Finance Investment Corporation. His major business achievement was in 1926 working to create the merger of four separate companies to form Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) one of the world's largest industrial corporations at the time. He became its first chairman.
Mond was also involved in politics and sat as Liberal Member of Parliament for Chester from 1906 to 1910, for Swansea from 1910 to 1918 and for Swansea West from 1918 to 1923. He served in the coalition government of David Lloyd George as First Commissioner of Works from 1916 to 1921 and as Minister of Health (with a seat in the cabinet) from 1921 to 1922. He later switched party and represented Carmarthen from 1924 to 1928, initially as a Liberal. Although a supporter of the “New Liberalism” in his early political career and a “vocal proponent of constructive social reform” in the postwar government, Mond became a Conservative in 1926 after falling out with Lloyd George over the former Prime Minister's controversial plans to nationalise agricultural land.
Mond was created a Baronet, of Hartford Hill in Great Budworth in the County of Chester, in 1910, and was admitted to the Privy Council in 1913. In 1928 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Melchett, of Landford in the County of Southampton.
Mond's father had bequeathed a collection of old master paintings to the National Gallery and Alfred provided housing for them in 1924. In 1929 he provided land in Chelsea for the Chelsea Health Society.
He first visited Palestine in 1921 with Chaim Weizmann and subsequently became an enthusiastic Zionist, contributing money to the Jewish Colonization Corporation for Palestine and writing for Zionist publications. He became President of the British Zionist Foundation and made financial contributions to Zionist causes. He was the first President of the Technion in 1925. Melchett founded the town of Tel Mond, now in Israel. Melchett also started building what is now one of the few private houses on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, now known as Villa Melchett. Tel Aviv and several other Israeli cities have a Melchett Street commemorating him.
One of Mond's most enduring contributions to Zionism did not come through direct political means but through his enthusiastic and active support of Pinhas Rutenberg, whom the British Government granted exclusive concessions to produce and distribute electricity in Palestine. Mond sat on the Board of the Palestine Electric Company and actively promoted the case of the company in London's political and industrial circles
Mond was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1928 and received a number of honorary degrees from Oxford, Paris and other universities.
In 1894 Mond married Violet Goetze and they had one son, Henry Ludwig, and three daughters. Mond died in his London home in 1930, and his son succeeded in the barony.Industry and Politics (1927)
Imperial Economic Unity (1930)