In 1862, Sir George Gilbert Scott designed a lavish commemorative library in the centre of Lewes. It was the gift of the widow of Henry Fitzroy, the First Commissioner of Works, to the people of Lewes, where her husband had been M.P. for over twenty-two years. Presumably Mrs. Fitzroy wanted a spectacular building in the style which her husband seemed to have favoured. Extensive funds were available for the building to be fitting memorial to Scott’s brief ally, as Mrs. Hannah Meyer Fitzroy (1815-1864) was, in fact, a daughter of N. M. Rothschild, the founder of the London branch of the famous bank.

The Fitzroy Memorial is a small symmetrical red brick building with a very ornate front and a small spire in the centre. At the rear is a single storey glass-roofed projection, containing the library, not unlike the museum at Pippbrook. The walls of this are decorated with a blank arcade of large pointed arches of alternating voussoirs each containing a rose window above a pair of round-headed windows. It is now a private house. There is no evidence that Scott carried out any further work for the wealthy Rothschilds even though they were soon to be involved in an extensive building programme around London, particularly in his home county of Buckinghamshire. The Rothschild family moved towards grand Italian or French style mansions, with the smaller buildings in the vernacular of the neighbourhood. The High Victorian of Scott and the Gothic Revivalists found little favour with the great Jewish family.

Franks, J., Building And Saving Fitzroy Library, Lewes (Pomegranate Press, Lewes, 2012).