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Artefacts: sundry artefacts

Artefacts relating to New Court buildings and artefacts and objects displayed in New Court buildings.

New Court: artefacts, the Nuremburg beaker, c.1680

000/2664, 1 item

A Nuremburg glass cylindrical Beaker, circa 1680, by Herman Schwinger (German, 1640-1683). Of cylindrical form with kicked-in base. Eengraved with figures representing the four elements, as follows: Air, represented by a boy holding a bird on a length of string; Water, represented by a boy holding a fishing net in his right hand and a fishing basket in his left; Earth, represented by a boy walking, with a shovel over his left shoulder and a basket of produce in his right hand, presumably the fruits of his labours; And Fire, represented by a boy stoking a fire with a branch. All in open landscapes with trees, water and distant buildings, with a basal band of berried foliage. The edge of the footrim ground to accommodate a mount 7” (18 cm) high. Purchased from Christie's, London, The Collection of the Baron's Nathaniel and Albert Von Rothschild, 8th July 1999.

New Court: artefacts, New Court Tapestry, c.1730-1740

000/2665, 1 item

A Flemish Old Testament Biblical Tapestry, Brussels, from the Story of Moses, after Jan Van Orley, and Augustin Coppens, woven by the workshop of Van de Borght,  c.1730-1740 depicting Moses and the brazen serpent (Numbers 21:4-9), signed lower right Borght, approximately 324 x 640 cms, lacking borders.The Van der Borght were an important Brussels family of weavers, active from the last third of the 17th century until the late 18th century.  

This Brussels Tapestry was formerly in the foyer of N M Rothschild & Sons Ltd. third New Court building.  Now on display in the 'Hobday' corridor, in the Fourth New Court. The Tapestry is believed to have originally been purchased by Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1808-1879), the eldest of Nathan Mayer Rothschild’s sons. In the 1930s, the tapestry was at 42, Hill Street, the London home of Anthony de Rothschild (1887-1961); his mother-in-law, Sonia Cahen d'Anvers, recalls seeing it displayed above the stairs. Between this time and c.1965 the exact whereabouts of the tapestry is unknown, but it remained with the family and may have been at Ascott House. The tapestry passed to the ownership of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. It may have been at Sir Evelyn's suggestion that it should be hung in the foyer of N M Rothschild & Sons Ltd in New Court upon the opening of the new building in 1965.

New Court: artefacts from 'Old New Court', c.1821-1970

000/1911, c.23 items

A quantity of artefacts: this accession consists of items from a tin trunk found in the New Court vaults before demolition of New Court in 2007, and items formerly displayed in the Partners' Room, New Court and the vitrine in the second New Court.In some cases,the  provenance and significance of these pieces is now lost, but many are believed to have been items acquired as gifts to the Rothschild partners in the course of business. These items were transferred to the Archive for safe-keeping when New Court was demolished, and include:

  • Rothschild coat of arms carved into shell (000/1911/14) 
  • Volume of the Old Testament with a decorated ivory, silver and jewelled cover. The volume is housed in wooden box, which is not believed to be contemporary with the volume (000/1911/15)
  • Two Cobalt samples, one Electro Cobalt and Ferro Cobalt from the Rhokana  Corporation, May 1933, mounted on a wooden plinth (000/1911/16)
  • Pair of small copper/brass vases (000/1911/19)
  • Carved shofar (ram’s horn) for Rosh Hashanah (000/1911/20) 
  • Pair of bronze candlesticks with floral decoration (000/1911/22) 
  • Paper weight, in the shape of  Scarab beetle (000/1911/25)
  • Commemorative medallion coin commemorating 50 years of Banque Belge Limited, 1909-1959 (000/1911/32)
  • Gold coin in a presentation case, a replica of a ‘Lanschotje’ copper coin of 1819 (000/1911/31)
  • Commemorative gold Brazilian medallion, President Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, Creation of Brasilia Medal, 1960 (000/1911/33)
  • Samples of quartz (000/1911/34)
  • Samples of uranium (000/1911/35)
  • Two pieces of blue cobalt (000/1911/36)
  • Fire refined N-Kana copper sample, mounted on a wooden plinth (000/1911/39)
  • Two bull figurines (not a pair)  (000/1911/42)
  • Plaque commemorating the Algom Uranium Mine Limited Official Opening, 16 February 1957 (000/1911/43)
  • Commemorative bronze memorial medallion to Lord Dudley Stuart, advocate of the independence of Poland, 1859 (000/1911/55)
  • Pair of candlesticks (000/1911/56)
  • Sample of copper ore, mounted on a wooden plinth, inscribed ‘Sample of copper ore containing approx. 40% copper, from N’Changa Mine, Aug 1931’ (000/1911/58)
  • Sample of ‘blue ground’ with diamond from Kimberley, mounted on a wooden plinth (000/1911/59)
  • Glass ‘Britoil’ paperweight, containing a liquid drop of North Sea oil, encased in glass (000/1911/61)

New Court: artefacts, quill pens, c.1820

000/2233, 3 items

Three feather quill pens. Discovered in letter copy book XI/148/10 with entries for 25 February 1820 and 9 June 1820.

New Court: artefacts, portrait bust (in wax) of Rabbi Solomon Hirschel, c.1850

000/2260, 1 item, 1 file

Portrait bust (in wax) of Chief Rabbi Solomon Hirschel by G. Abbott. On a wooden pedestal with a glass domed case. Hirschel (1762-1842) was Chief Rabbi of the Great Synagogue from 1802 until his death. The bust was in the study of Mr Anthony de Rothschild and then displayed in the offices of N M Rothschild & Sons. Also included in this accession is a copy of the illustrated Exhibition catalogue of the Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition Anglo-Jewish Art & History, (an exhibition in commemoration of the tercentenary of the resettlement of Jews in the British Isles, held 6 January-29 February 1956. The bust, together with other items was loaned by N M Rothschild & Sons for this exhibition.

New Court: artefacts, a sundry collection of [empty] deed boxes and tin trunks, c.1850-1920

000/1106; 000/2511, c.100 items

A sundry collection of [empty] deed boxes and tin trunks of varying sizes, c.100 in number. Most trunks are black enamel, with lettering in gold or white describing the former contents. These deed boxes and tin trunks once held NMR business or Rothschild family documents, or private client papers. In many cases, the original document contents have been accessioned and re-boxed into archive quality boxes. The Archive reference for these documents will record the number (if known) of the trunk they were originally stored in. Trunks are now retained for their display value only and are no longer used for document storage. Many are on display at New Court, and in the Archive Reading Room.

New Court: artefacts, fragment of 'Old New Court', c.1865

000/2109, 1 item

Fragment of the 'Old building of New Court demolished in 1962'. This is the letter 'N' from the word 'New Court' that was inscribed on the 1860s building. It wasn't until 1841, at the insistence of the City Surveyor, that an engraved stone was added to the frontage of New Court, bearing the name 'New Court.' When the building was demolished and rebuilt in the mid-1860s, the new building did not bear the name 'New Court' until 1946, when again, at the insistence of the City authorities, the name was discreetly carved into the side of the main entrance. This letter 'N' was retained as a curio (by an unknown hand) when the second New Court was demolished in 1962, and was used for a number years as an unusual paperweight.

New Court, artefacts, Strongroom keys, c.1870-1880

000/2119/1-3, 3 items

Sundry keys from the strongroom of the second New Court, presumed retained as curios when the second New Court was demolished in 1962, or forgotten in a drawer until gifted to the Archive. 

  • set of keys labelled 'Master Keys of the Inner Strongroom, New Court',
  • set of keys labelled 'Glass case containing gold bars, New Crt'.
  • set of keys labelled Lord Rothschild Title Deeds Tring. Herts. Estate, relating to deed boxes of Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915), kept in the New Court vaults.

New Court: artefacts, keys to ledgers and tin trunks, c.1880-1920

000/495, 1 folder

Bunches of loose keys and keys in envelopes. Most keys have a paper label explaining what they are for. Keys are for ledgers and tin trunks, some of which may be found in the Archive collection.

New Court: artefacts, set of small 'gold' weights, c.1900

000/508, 1 item

Set of small weights in a small wooden box, together with handling tweezers. These were used by the Bank to weigh the small amounts of gold it bought from the public in the days when there was a public counter at New Court. The weights may date from the turn of the century, and were probably in use until the Second World War.

New Court; artefacts, Balance Beam gold weighing scale, c.1900

000/2176, 4 items

This Balance Beam weighing scale and three sets of weights, mounted in a wood and glass case was used at the Royal Mint Refinery to weigh gold, and after the Refinery closed in the late 1960s was stored, before being displayed at New Court until the third New Court building was demolished in 2008. The scale is currently dismantled.

New Court: artefacts, Specimen coin set issued for the 1902 Coronation, 1902

000/1911/50, 1 item

Collection of ‘Specimen coins 1902’ containing proof set of 13 coins, in a red leather box. Believed to have been a gift to the Rothschild Partners. For the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, the Royal Mint issued two different proof coin sets, the thirteen  coin set, and also an eleven coin set. Each coin bears the Edward VII portrait by George William De Saulles on the obverse. The reverse on each coin bears the following:

  • Gold coin: Five Pounds (Quintuple Sovereign) - St George and Dragon
  • Gold coin: Two Pounds (Double Sovereign) - St George and Dragon
  • Gold coin: Sovereign - St George and Dragon
  • Gold coin: Half Sovereign - St George and Dragon
  • Silver coin: Crown - St George and Dragon
  • Silver coin: Half Crown - Crowned Shield in Garter
  • Silver coin: Florin - Standing Britannia
  • Silver coin: Shilling - Lion on Crown
  • Silver coin: Sixpence - Crowned Value Six Pence in Wreath
  • Maundy Coin: Fourpence - Crowned Value 4 in Wreath
  • Maundy Coin: Three Pence - Crowned Value 3 in Wreath
  • Maundy Coin: Twopence - Crowned Value 2 in Wreath
  • Maundy Coin: Penny - Crowned Value 1 in Wreath

New Court: artefacts, silver topped ink well, undated

000/1911/53, 1 item

Small round turned glass ink well, with a silver top. The top is hallmarked but the marks are indistinct. This piece may have come from the Partners' Room, New Court.

New Court: artefacts, clerks' ink well, c.1915

000/2559, 1 item

Early twentieth century office clerks' ink well, comprising a small wooden box with a hinged lid with three ceramic ink wells inset, marked on lid  'Copying', 'Red' and 'Black' to hold ink for writing and marking in office ledgers.

New Court: artefacts, Partners' headed paper, c.1918-1923

000/1176, 1 folder

Examples of unused headed N M Rothschild & Sons paper (1918-1923) with names of three Partners (Charles, Lionel, Anthony) and blank headed N M Rothschild & Sons paper (post- 1923) with the names of  two partners (Lionel and Anthony), 1918-1923.

New Court: artefacts, ‘St Swithin’s Lane’ street signs, c.1930

000/416, 2 items

Two glass and enamel street signs ‘St Swithin’s Lane’, removed during 1991 street renovations by the City of London and purchased by NMR. Each with a certificate. 

New Court: artefacts, wicker and metal desk trays, c.1900-1950

000/2073/1-2, 2 items

Two contemporary office desk trays, a wicker tray and a black tin tray containing sundry cancelled bond coupons. [note: these items have been retained for their display value rather than as documents].

New Court: artefacts, Odner 'Arithmometer' calculating machine, c.1945

000/2082/1, 1 item

An example of an Odhner 'Arithmometer' calculating machine, dating from the 1950s-1960s. This example not used at NMR but is an example of the type of machines that would almost certainly have been used at New Court. The Odhner Arithmometer was a very successful pinwheel calculator invented in Russia in 1873 by W. T. Odhner, a Swedish immigrant. From 1892 to the middle of the 20th century, independent companies were set up all over the world to manufacture copies of Odhner's machine and, by the 1960s, with millions sold, it became one of the most successful type of mechanical calculator ever designed. It was made redundant with the appearance of  electronic calculators in the early 1970s. 

New Court: artefacts, GPO telephone, 1946

000/2489, 1 item

Black bakelite GPO series 300 telephone, with tray for dialling code card. Made in 1946, by GEC. Telephones like this were used at New Court. A framed list of internal telephone numbers, c.1960 kept by the telephones in the General Office will be found in 000/2073/3.

New Court: artefacts, meeting room and office stationery, c.1960-2005

000/1176; 000/1378, 1 box, 3 items

Large blue A3 plastic ring binder folder 'Investment Valuation' with New Court shield emblem (folder is empty). (early 1960s); small blue A4 plastic folder with New Court shield emblem (early 1960s); large NMR branded desk blotter and pad, with five arrows logo, c.1990, as used in New Court meeting rooms and offices; examples of NMR Group of companies letterheads and compliment slips, c.1990-2002; examples of NM Rothschild headed notepaper, 2002-2005; Rothschild Global Technology Partners, LLC: blue leather notepad holder, with embossed five arrows logo; large desk blotter/document folder with five arrows insignia, c.1995; large ring binder folder with five arrows insignia and 'NM Rothschild' logo, c.1990; Plastic document wallet with five arrows logo, c.1970s.

New Court: artefacts, nameplate from the Third 'New Court' , c.1965

000/2308, 1 item

It wasn't until 1841, at the insistence of the City Surveyor, that an engraved stone was added to the frontage of the first New Court, bearing the name 'New Court.' When that building was demolished and rebuilt in the mid-1860s, the second building did not bear the name 'New Court' until 1946, when again, at the insistence of the City authorities, the name was discreetly carved into the side of the main entrance. 

This large piece of black marble, bearing the words 'New Court' is from the third New Court building. The third New Court was designed by Fitzroy Robinson and constructed by Trollope & Colls between 1962-1965. This piece of marble was set into the facade of the third New Court building, until its removal prior to demolition of the third New Court in 2008. 

New Court: artefacts, Mezuzahs, c.1965; 1999

000/690, 000/1885, 3 items

Mezuzahs from the main doors to third New Court. These were in place from 1965 to 1999. A new Mezuzah was commissioned in 1999 and placed above the door of the third New Court. This was removed in 2008 when the third New Court was demolished. It was accessioned into the Archive as 000/1885. The metal case was restored in 2011, and it placed above the door to the fourth New Court in accordance with Jewish custom, where it remains.

A mezuzah is a piece of parchment called a klaf contained in a decorative case and inscribed with specific Hebrew verses from the Torah. These verses consist of the Jewish prayer Shema Yisrael. A mezuzah is traditionally affixed to the doorpost of Jewish homes to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to "write the words of God on the gates and doorposts of your house" (Deuteronomy 6:9). The klaf parchment is prepared by a qualified scribe ("sofer stam") who has undergone proscribed training. The verses are written in black indelible ink with a special quill pen; the parchment is then rolled up and placed inside the case. According to halakha, the mezuzah should be placed on the right side of the door or doorpost, in the upper third of the doorpost. A mezuzah is a very special object and must be taken care of carefully and according to Jewish laws and traditions.

New Court: artefacts, 'New Court' commemorative medallion, 1965 and sundry papers, 1965

000/508, 000/2297, 000/2736/3 and 000/1239, 30 items, 1 file

In 1962, the decision was taken to rebuild New Court.  The Partners created a new Rothschild-owned company to undertake the development. The architect Fitzroy Robinson was commissioned and the contruction company Trollope & Colls were appointed to oversee the project. In 1962, staff said goodbye to the old New Court and left for a temporary office in City Gate House, Finsbury Square. In 1965 the staff returned to St Swithin's Lane to the new building, a visible symbol of a trend of modernisation within the firm. To mark the occasion, a silver 'New Court' medallion was commissioned and presented to to Partners, staff and business associates on completion of the third New Court in 1965. 

Mrs Elizabeth de Rothschild (1923-1980) had taken a keen interest in the work of the British Crafts Council and had noted the work of the sculptor John Skelton (1923-1999), who had learnt has craft from his uncle, Eric Gill. As a result, he was invited by the Senior Partner, Mr Edmund de Rothschild to submit a design for a commemorative medallion, which should incoporate the new building and the 'Five arrows'. The final medallion, produced by The Royal Mint, (and for which N M Rothschild & Sons provided the silver themselves), featured a design of the Rothschild five arrows device with the words 'Concordia, Industria, Integritas' obverse, and a view of the new third New Court and the words 'The Re-building of New Court 1965' reverse. A total of 703 medallions were struck for distribution to serving members of staff, New Court pensioners, senior staff of the architects and builders, and 'City' guests invited to the opening of the new building on 5 July 1965. 

  • Examples of 'New Court' medallions, in white/gold presentation boxes and blue leather boxes, gifted to the Archive by former staff (000/508 and 000/2736/3);
  • Small box containing 'New Court' medallions. It is believed that this was unissued 'stock' that was kept in the New Court vault: 23 'New Court' medallions, in white/gold cases with original packing; 3 'New Court medallions in blue leather boxes with gilt decoration with original packing. It is believed that the blue boxed medallions were presented to senior staff and disnguished persons, the white/gold boxed version being more numerous, and given to all staff and pensioners. (000/2297)
  • Files of papers concerning concerning the commisioning, striking and production of the medallion, including correspondence with the designer, John Skelton; correspondence with the Royal Mint; photographs and designs, 1965. (000/1239).

New Court: artefacts, practice combination lock, c.1965

000/2034/2, 1 item

Practice combination lock, used when training staff how to manage the vault security in the third New Court building. The strongroom of the third New Court was manufactured by Chubb, and when it was built, featured Europe’s then biggest strongroom door, with a lock offering over 4,000,000,000 different combinations.

New Court: artefacts, strongroom door handle, c.1965

000/2034/1, 1 item

One of the orginal handles to the vault door, from the third New Court, removed during demolition in 2008.

New Court: artefacts, Decimalisation souvenirs, 1968-1971

000/2714, 3 items

UK Decimalisation souvenirs, 1968-1971:

  • Sum IT Decimal Currency Card game by Waddingtons, 1968;
  • Decimal currency coin set: This set of the first decimal coins to be issued is in the original blue plastic wallet together with a double sided descriptive card. The set contains the original 10p and 5p issued in 1968 and 2p, 1p and 1/2p issued in 1971;
  • Decimal Currency calculator, round (15cm) white plastic, coverts 'd' to 'new pence', c.1971.

The 15th of February 1971 was ‘Decimal Day’ in the United Kingdom; the day on which the country officially decimalised its currency of pounds, shillings, and pence (£sd). Prior to this date, the British pound was made up of 20 shillings, each of which was made up of 12 pence, a total of 240 pence. With decimalisation, the pound kept its old value and name, but was now divided into 100 ‘new pence’, each of which was worth 2.4 ‘old pence’.  The Decimal Currency Board was created to manage the transition. Under the new system, new coinage was issued alongside the old coins. The 5p and 10p coins were introduced in April 1968 and were the same size, composition, and value as the shilling and two-shilling coins they replaced. In October 1969, the 50p coin was introduced, with its old equivalent, the 10-shilling note withdrawn on 20 November 1970. The old halfpenny was withdrawn from circulation on 31 July 1969, and the half-crown (2s 6d) followed on 31 December to ease the transition. The smallest coin, the farthing (worth a quarter of an old penny), last minted in 1956, had already ceased to be legal tender in 1961. A substantial publicity campaign took place in the weeks before Decimal Day to educate the public about the cnaheover  Banks received stocks of the new coins in advance, which were issued to retailers shortly before Decimal Day to enable them to give change immediately after the changeover. Commemorative proof sets of the new currency were produced together with ‘handy calculators’ to help the public easily understand the new values. Due to extensive preparations, Decimal Day itself went smoothly. 

New Court: artefacts, 'Underwood 200' calculating machine, c.1970-1980

000/2082/2, 1 item

An example of an Olivetti 'Underwood 200' calculating machine, dating from the 1970s-1980s found during office moves to the new New Court building, Summer 2011. Complete with rolls of unused paper. Made in Italy by Underwood Italiana.

New Court: artefacts, messengers' letter pouch, c.1980-1990

000/1017, 1 item

Black leather messenger's letter pouch used by the Messengers' Office at New Court.

New Court: artefacts, paper embosser, c.1990

000/2282, 1 item

Hand-held paper embosser, for producing a raised relief embossed company logo on letters and other documents. 

New Court: artefacts, printers' plates, sundry 'Rothschild' corporate logos, c.1998-2003

000/2454, 1 item

Small brass printer's plate, with Rothschild corporate logos of 'Five Arrows', 'Rothschild', 'R' and 'NM Rothschild'. Used by N M Rothschild & Sons Limited. Date unknown but estimated c.1998-2003.