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Sundry papers held in London

A few papers concerning railway interests of the French Rothschild family (mainly published secondary sources) will be found in the collections of The Rothschild Archive London.

The Archive is fortunate to hold a copy of a rare commemorative photograph album, and a volume containing an illustrated map, (with images believed to be by Édouard Baldus), numbered volumes from a set of 25 each, commissioned by James de Rothschild in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chemin de Fer du Nord, recording the line between Paris and Boulogne, c.1855. (000/2720/1-2).

A memorial volume of speeches, funeral sermons and obituaries for James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868) published by the Directors of the Chemin du fer du Nord will be found in 000/2731; other duplicate copies will be also be found in the Ascott Collection I, 000/924/3/2, (bookplate 'Ascott House') and the Rushbrooke Collection I, 000/848/9/2, (bookplate 'Tring Park').

Correspondence between the London Partners and their French cousins makes reference to railway business. See Records of the London banking house: Correspondence Department, Private Letters to the Paris House, 1906-1914 (XI/130A/0-8) and Correspondence from de Rothschild Frères, 1837-1918 (XI/101/0-104).

The Moscow Papers (58 series) contain papers of Edouard James de Rothschild (1868-1949) concerning railway contracts, minutes of the meetings of the presidents and directors of the seven major railway networks, 1928-1937, and other sundry reports, correspondence and papers concerning railway matters, c.1925-1935, and a report on the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer du Nord, including maps, and the development of French railways between 1932-1936. 

The Lafite Papers contains cash books that record sundry donations and payments made by various members of the French Rothschild family to railway charities and interests, such as railway pensions.

Other sundry material relating to the French railway business, held by The Rothschild Archive London, is listed below.

Artefacts

Paris-Lyon-Mediterranée Railway, artefacts, commemorative plaques, 1901

000/1071/1, 000/1123, 2 items

Two examples of a commemorative silver plaque produced for the Assemblee Generale des Actionnaires du Paris-Lyon-Mediterranee, designed by L-O. Roty, showing, on one side, a naked winged Genius holding the hand of a female with flowers, two other females standing at right; on the other, the exterior of the new Gare de Lyon, Paris.

The Chemin de fer de Lyon à la Méditerranée was a short-lived railway company in the south of France. It was formed in 1852 and merged in 1857 with the Chemin de fer de Paris à Lyon and others to form the Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée (PLM). Largely created between 1858 and 1862 from the amalgamation of the earlier Paris-Lyon and Lyon-Méditerranée companies, and subsequently incorporating a number of smaller railways, the PLM operated chiefly in the south-east of France, with a main line which connected Paris to the Côte d'Azur by way of Dijon, Lyon, and Marseille. The company was also the operator of railways in Algeria. Absorbed in 1938 into the majority state-owned Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français, the PLM's network became the south-eastern region of SNCF.

Correspondence

Chemin de Fer du Nord, sundry correspondence, 1867-c.1880

000/2125/1, 3-5, 3 files

Correspondence) of the French Rothschild family, mainly of James de Rothschild (1792-1869) and his immediate family to Monsieur Castel, General Secretary of the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Nord. The letters mainly concern routine matters such as permissions for travel on the railway by members of the Rothschild family, requests for travel permits, and permission to publish Chemin de Fer du Nord share prices. A letter from Nathaniel de Rothschild (1812-1870) from Paris, thanks the Board for their good wishes and asks them to accept his son James Edouard (1844-1881) as his replacement, 1869.

Printed material

Compagnie Chemin de Fer du Nord, timetable, 1903

000/515, 1 item

Chemin de Fer du Nord timetable, 1903. In September 1845 the contract to construct and operate a railway concession for France's first major railway, through its mining and industrial heartland, the Paris-Lille Valenciennes Line was awarded to Jame de Rothschild's company, the Compagnie du Chemin de Fer du Nord. James served as the company's first president from its inception until his death in 1868. 

Compagnie Chemin de Fer du Nord, postcards, c.1877-1921

000/749, 000/1076, 000/2311, 12 items

Postcard of Arras station on the Chemin de Fer du Nord, c. 1900; postcards of the Gare du Nord, c.1900; postcards of locomotives on the Chemin de Fer du Nord, c.1877-1921.

Compagnie Chemin de Fer du Nord, pamphlets, 1846

000/1604, 1 item

Rothschild Ier, Roi des Juifs par Satan (Paris: Imprimerie de Madame de Lacombe, 1846) [Georges Dairnvaell]. Pamphlet attacking the Rothschilds and the Chemin de Fer du Nord, following the railway accident of July 1846. 

Compagnie Chemin de Fer du Nord, press cuttings, 1930; 1933

000/1742, 2 items

Compagnie Chemin de Fer du Nord, press cuttings:

  • copy of article from The Daily Mail, 2 September 1930 'The new snobbery' concerning train services between Paris and London; 
  • copy of a booklet published in 1933 as a tribute to Paul-Émile Javary on his retirement from the Chemin de Fer du Nord railway company. Paul-Émile Javary (1866-1945) was a French engineer and manager of  the Compagnie Chemin de Fer du Nord. He is noted for his mobilizstion of the network during the First World War, and its reconstruction between the wars. He joined the Compagnie Chemin de Fer du Nord in 1897 as Chief Engineer, rising to the position of  Chief Operating Engineer in 1917. In 1918, he was promoted commander of the Legion of Honor with a military title and decorated with the Croix de Guerre with citation to the Order of the Army in recognition of his efforts to keep the railway functioning during the war, At the end of the war, two-thirds of the network had been destroyed; Javary saw the opportunity to create a new modern, efficient  network. In 1923 he became Director of Operations for the company. Javary opened the northern network to international traffic and significantly developed the port of Dunkirk. He retired on 1 January 1934 with the title of Honorary Director.

Compagnie Chemin de Fer du Nord: Commemorative photograph album, commissioned by James Mayer de Rothschild, recording the line between Paris and Boulogne, c.1855

000/2720/1, 1 item

James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868): Chemin de Fer du Nord: large commemorative photograph album commissioned by James Mayer de Rothschild, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chemin de Fer du Nord to record landmarks on the railway line between Paris and Boulogne, c.1855. See also 000/2720/2.

  • Photograph album entitled  Chemin de Fer du Nord: Ligne de Paris à  Boulogne: Album de vues Photographiques: original green Morocco-backed cloth board gilt-edged album and with the initials ‘J.B.’ Oblong folio, one of 25 numbered copies, this being copy number 15, presented to Joseph Baxendale. The volume contains a hand-coloured lithographed title, an index to contents, 50 lightly albumenised salted paper prints, comprising a map with photographic vignettes and 49 large plate views. Exécuté et liré à 25 exemplaires par ordre de Mr. Le Baron James de Rothschild, Président du Conseil d’Administration.

In 1855, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert travelled between Boulogne and Paris on the Chemin de Fer Nord during their state visit to France, 18- 27 August 1855. James de Rothschild commissioned a lavish volume in red leather with heavy gilt decoration, containing photographs by Édouard Baldus (1813-1889) to commemorate the event; Baldus completed the photography in three days. This volume was presented to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by James as a memento of their visit, and remains in the Royal Collection. The Queen's description of the journey shows it was not always comfortable as 'the heat and dust, in the train, were very great - really dreadful, and I never felt hotter.' The volume in this accession contains different photographs to those in the 'Royal Album', but given the quality and composition of the images, the consensus is that they are also by Baldus and that this volume dates from around the same time.

Joseph Baxendale (1785-1872) of Camden Town, was an English transportation entrepreneur, and  the leading partner in Pickford & Co. As the largest carrier in England, he came into contact with the leading canal and railway engineers, and was acquainted with George and Robert Stephenson. He was chairman of the South Eastern Railway Company, and a Director of the East Indian Railway.

Édouard Baldus (1813-1889) was a French landscape, architectural and railway photographer. He was originally trained as a painter and worked as a draughtsman and lithographer before switching to photography in 1849. The high quality of his work won him government support for projects to photograph architectural views in Paris and the provinces designed to feed a resurgent interest in the nation's Roman and medieval past. One of his greatest assignments was to document the construction of the Louvre museum. 

Compagnie Chemin de Fer du Nord: Commemorative map album, commissioned by James Mayer de Rothschild, recording the line between Paris and Boulogne, c.1855

000/2720/2, 1 volume

James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868): Chemin de Fer du Nord, small commemorative map album commissioned by James Mayer de Rothschild, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chemin de Fer du Nord to record landmarks on the railway line between Paris and Boulogne, c.1855. See also 000/2720/1.

  • Volume entitled Chemin de Fer du Nord. Carte Illustrée Itineraire de Paris à Boulogne. Original green original green morocco-backed cloth, upper cover titled in gilt and with the initials ‘A.R.’ Folio, one of 25 numbered copies, this being copy number 21, presented to 'Le Baron A. de Rothschild' presumed to be James' son, (Mayer) Alphonse (1827-1905). Containing a hand-coloured lithographed title and Indication des stations et des sites remarquables du Chemin de Fer entre Paris et Boulogne, a large 3-part folding map backed on silk illustrated with 43 mounted albumen print vignettes (sections detached). Exécuté et liré à 25 exemplaires par ordre de Mr. Le Baron James de Rothschild, Président du Conseil d’Administration

Cie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, fiftieth anniversary publication, 'Cinquantenaire de la Cie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des grands express européens, 1876-1926', 1926

000/1804, 1 volume

Volume entitled Cinquantenaire de la Cinquantenaire de la Cie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des grands express européens, 1876-1926 1876-1926 (Cie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, 1926), published by the company on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Cie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des grands express européens. Illustrated booklet, with colour railway map.  The company operated on numerous railway lines owned by the Rothschilds, and this volume may have been sent to the Partners at New Court.