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Sources for business history: plans of New Court

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

Estate ledgers and account books from the Château de Ferrières

The Rothschild Archive London primarily holds the business records of the Rothschild banking businesses. The Archive has few records relating to the estates and private houses of the Rothschild family; large quantities of private and estate records are known to have been lost. The discovery of these records will shed new light on life on the vast estate at Ferrières.



Château de Ferrières, the grandest of the Rothschild houses

James de Rothschild (1792-1868) was so impressed with Mentmore Towers, the Buckinghamshire estate of his nephew Mayer (1818-1874), that he is reputed to have told the architect Joseph Paxton, “Build me a Mentmore, only bigger”.

The design of Ferrières, Seine-et-Marne, which Paxton produced in 1859 was on the same lines as the English house, but on a much bigger scale with accommodation for one hundred servants and stables for 80 horses.  The kitchen was housed separately, and, in order that the food might arrive hot in the dining room, an underground railway conveyed it to the house.

Covering 4,000 hectares, the estate was large enough for a model farm to be maintained on it, and provided ideal territory for hunting.  Many distinguished guests visited during the shooting season, most notable among whom was Napoleon III who arrived on 17th of February 1862.  After planting a tree to commemorate his visit, he went shooting with James, returning in the evening to be entertained by the Paris Opera Chorus conducted by Gioacchino Rossini himself. As ambassador to Paris, Bismarck  stayed at Ferrières on more than one occasion, enjoying his time at the château so much that he later persuaded his King to make it the Prussian headquarters when the Prussian invaded Paris in 1870.

The last of the family to own Ferrières was Baron Guy de Rothschild (1909-2007). The house had not been used since before the Second World War, and Guy and his wife, Marie-Hélène, restored it and hosted several balls there, the most famous of which were the Proust ball and the Surrealist ball.  In 1975 they gifted Ferrières to the University of Paris.

Ferrières estate records

The Rothschild Archive has been fortunate to acquire 98 ledgers and account books relating to the Rothschild estate, Château de Ferrières. The volumes contain printed columns and headers and are largely completed in manuscript. The majority are titled 'Compte Chasse' or 'Grand Livre', but others relate to the farms of the estate and are titled 'Inventaire de la ferme de Pontcarre', 'Resume des Travaux aux Immeubles', 'Ferme de Chateau Bergerie', 'Compte Voliere', 'Cuisse Tuilerie', 'Ferme d'Hermieres Bouverie' & 'Vacherie/Porcherie'.

Over the next few months the archivists will begin a detailed investigation of the volumes. 

Estate ledgers and account books from Ferrières

Estate ledgers and account books from Ferrières

Château de Ferrières Paris

Château de Ferrières Paris