|Design and construction|
Office for Metropolitan Architecture
New Court (also known as The Rothschild Headquarters) is a collection of proximate buildings in London having served as the global headquarters of the Rothschild investment bank since 1809. The current building is the fourth incarnation of the Rothschild offices at the same street address. Until 2004, the world price of gold was fixed daily at this building.
1809 to 1868: First incarnation and early history
After leaving Frankfurt, Nathan Mayer Rothschild needed a location where he could build his banking business and continue his merchant activities as well as house his family. Rothschild acquired the lease to New Court No. 2 for £750 in 1809 at an annual rate of £150. The location of the building was selected in part due to its proximity to the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England.
1868 to 1962: Second incarnation
In 1899, Rothschild refitted New Court with electricity and acquired St Swithin's Lane No 7 for £8,000.
Beginning of gold fixing
In 1919, on the 12th of September, New Court became the location where the global price of gold was fixed. Every day at 11:00am, the price of gold was set in a special room. By 1968, a second fixing time was added at 3:00pm to correspond with the opening of the American commodity markets.
First World War
To allow for bank operations during the war, air-raid resistant shelters were constructed within New Court.
Second World War
During WWII, The Rothschild bank moved much of its staff to Nathan's estate at Tring Park, as the distance was farther out of harms way during the Battle of Britain. In a 1941 Nazi air raid, St Swithin's Lane was struck with many buildings erupting in uncontrollable flames. The buildings adjacent to New Court burned and suffered extensive damage, but New Court remained unharmed.
1962 to 2011: Third incarnation
As the firm continued to see growth, it again outgrew New Court. Although the idea of extending the buildings vertically was posed, it was ultimately decided by Edmund Leopold de Rothschild, Evelyn de Rothschild, Leopold de Rothschild, and Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild to develop a new office. Rothschild chose Fitzroy Robinson of Trollope & Colls as architect.
After three years of construction, New Court reopened in 1965. The building included the largest bank vault door in Europe with over four billion combinations.
End of gold fixing
In 2004, Rothschild announced that it would no longer hold its permanent chairmanship of the global gold fixing market. Since Rothschild withdrew from this line of business, the price of gold has no longer been fixed in person.
2011 to present: Fourth incarnation
By the early twenty-first century, the Rothschild Bank had again outgrown the buildings and in 2008 the decision was made to raze the buildings for a fourth time and build anew. Acclaimed architect Rem Koolhaas of OMA was selected to design the new headquarters for Rothschild. It is said that he drew inspiration from the Medici's (a powerful European banking dynasty from the renaissance) architecture in Italy.
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