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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


The fascination of motoring attracted the Rothschild family from its earliest days. In France, Arthur de Rothschild (1851-1903) was among the first to acquire a car. Albert von Rothschild (1844-1911) had one of the first automobiles in Vienna.

Henri de Rothschild (1872-1947) bought his first car in 1896, a 6 h.p. Peugeot with the French licence number 5. He wrecked it in an accident with a farm cart. Undeterred, Henri quickly took to racing. In 1902 alone he raced from Paris to Vienna and took part in the first international motor race in Britain, at Bexhill. One of the earliest of French racing prizes, the Coupe Rothschild was named after him. He was to go on to build his own car factory. "Motoring, if practised moderately, without excessive speeds, will produce the most beneficial effects" he told an audience at the Automobile Club. 

In 1905, Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942) beat his French cousin, Henri, in an 18-hour race from Paris to Monte Carlo. Both men drove 60 h.p. Mercedes cars. Lionel loved speed. He would drive his Rolls-Royce at breakneck speed between New Court and Exbury, where he later drove an Armstrong Siddeley around the paths of his garden. In 1906 he became a director of the Wolseley Tool and Motor Co. Lionel took after his father Leopold who, having bought one of the first cars in the country, went on to help found the Automobile Association and to have the speed limit raised to 20mph in 1902.

Henri passed on his passion to his son Philippe (1902-1988) who, for pleasure, drove first a Torpedo Unic from his father's factory, then a Hispano-Suiza. He also competed internationally in a Bugatti, once coming first in the Grand Prix de Boulogne.

Another keen Bugatti driver was Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild (1910-1990). His son, the late Amschel Rothschild (1955-1996) inherited the fascination and raced regularly in Maseratis, BRMs and AC Daytona Cobras.

For further information, visit our online exhibition Motoring Rothchilds »

Lionel de Rothschild's Rolls-Royce

Lionel de Rothschild's Rolls-Royce

Edouard de Rothschild's Kellner purchased in 1906.

Edouard de Rothschild's Kellner purchased in 1906.