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Sources for business history

Sources for art history: Catalogue of the pictures of Alfred de Rothschild 1901

Sources for yachting history: Plans for Nathaniel von Rothschild's yacht Veglia 1905

Sources for natural history: Walter 2nd Lord Rothschild and his zebra carriage: c.1910

Sources for global financial history: Map of lines of the Brazil Railway Company: c.1920

Sources for business history: index cards to bank files

Sources for social history: Rothschild Hospital Paris: 1920s

Sources for business history: detail of a Rothschild bond coupon

Sources for architectural history: Halton House: 1890s

Sources for the history of travel: Lionel de Rothschild's tours of Spain: 1909

Sources for local history: Tring Park: c.1900

Sources for Royal history: shooting party with Edward Prince of Wales: 1893

Sources for political history: Lionel de Rothschild: first Jewish MP: 1858

Sources for sporting history: St Amant winner of the Derby: 1904

Sources for local history: gardeners at Aston Clinton: 1899

Sources for Rothschild family history: Lionel de Rothschild's yacht Rhodora: 1927

Sources for London history: entrance to New Court: 1965

Sources for design history: plans for Lionel de Rothschild's Rolls-Royce: 1930

Sources for business history: Rothschild gold bars produced by the Royal Mint Refinery: 1930s

Sources for business history: letters of August Belmont Rothschild Agent in New York: 1860s

Programme from the St Swithin's Musical Society concert season, 1899

The collections of The Rothschild Archive London contain over two million pieces of paper, volumes, files, photographs, artefacts and art works. Archivist's Choice is a series a short articles each highlighting a treasure from the Archive collection, or celebrating an anniversary or special event. Browse through our library of Archivist's Choice articles to discover some of the fascinating stories behind our collections.

The company of composers and performers has been a repeating feature of Rothschild family history. Chopin, Liszt, Paganini and Rossini (a close friend of Baron Lionel de Rothschild and his sisters) came often to Baroness Betty’s Paris salons in the middle years of the 19th century. 

Alfred de Rothschild(1842-1918) numbered the composer Arthur Sullivan and the opera stars Adelina Patti and Nellie Melba among his many musical friends.  Many of these figures became clients of the bank; Nellie Melba's fortune owed more to Rothschild investment advice than to her substantial international earnings. Alfred entertained magnificently at Halton in Buckinghamshire, and in London at 1, Seamore Place. He was a lavish host, and guests might be entertained by his personal orchestra which Alfred conducted with a diamond-studded baton. Alfred was  President of  The St Swithin’s Musical Society; Vice-Presidents were his brothers and nephews and Sir Arthur Sullivan. Members of the society included staff of the bank and their friends.

The 1899-1900 Season

Concerts were held at St Martin’s Town Hall, Charing Cross, every second month. The programme for the first concert of the season, on 25th October 1899, reveals a packed evening with something to please everyone. The concert began with the rousing march ‘El Capitan’ by Sousa, performed by The Casino Orchestra. Highlights of Part 1 included the comic song ‘Tittle Tattle’ performed by Mr Wallis Arthur; a whistling solo ‘Il Bacio’ performed by Mr Chas. Capper, farmyard imitations, courtesy of Mr Harry Casrsdale, concluding with a song and dance by Miss Kitty Rayburn. Part 2 (after refreshments provided by the Chandos Hotel) included imitations by Miss Marie Dainton, more songs (both serious and comic), and a hearty rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’ The show ended with a ‘specially written descriptive piece ‘The battle of Dundee’.

Rothschild and music today

The traditions of the St Swithin’s Musical Society continue today in the Rothschild Music Society which puts on regular concerts at New Court for bank staff, family and friends. The late Mr Leopold de Rothschild (1927-2012) played a substantial role in the musical world as a keen singer with the Bach Choir and its Chairman from 1976, Chairman of the Council of the Royal College of Music and of the English Chamber Orchestra and a Trustee of Glyndebourne. His niece, Charlotte de Rothschild, has become the family’s first professional singer. Fittingly, her recitals, frequently feature the songs of her ancestor Hannah Mathilde von Rothschild (1832-1924), an accomplished composer.

Find out more about the musical interests and connections of the Rothschilds »

RAL reference: RAL 000/2019/3/8


Programme from the St Swithin's Musical Society Concert held 25th October 1899

Programme from the St Swithin's Musical Society Concert held 25th October 1899

Song entitled 'Vielle Chanson du Jeune Temps' composed by Hannah Mathilde von Rothschild

Song entitled 'Vielle Chanson du Jeune Temps' composed by Hannah Mathilde von Rothschild