The Bank of England's imminent tercentenary (July 1994), coming as it does with the future status of the Bank a subject of much discussion, is an apposite moment to offer an overview of the Bank's history as a whole. This collection of essays is the first attempt to identify the most important themes of the institution's history and put them in a long-term perspective. The main pieces will deal with the Bank's relations with government, its impact on the British economy, its role in international central banking, its position in the City of London, and its changing composition and management. In addition, in a piece likely to cause considerable interest, the Deputy Governor (Rupert Pennant Rea) will be looking at all these themes in a contemporary light and offering some thoughts about the Bank's future. Added value is given by two main appendices: a detailed chronology of the Bank's history; and a comprehensive listing of its governors, directors, and senior officials. In sum, this is a book that meets a clear intellectual need, while also being extremely convenient for those unwilling or unable to embark on the circa 2600 pages of the three main official histories.
Contributors: D.Kynaston, A.Cairncross, P.Cottrell, R.Roberts, E.Hennessy, R.Pennant Rea, R.Pringle, and H.Bowen.
`Includes a fascinating table depicting the rise of the state machine this century.'
`The book is generated by a backwrd-looking event, a conference to mark last year's celebration of the bank's 300th anniversary. But the essays tingle with forward-looking speculation- will the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street finally break free from the bad company of politicians? It is rare for a collection of essays to offer such a rich diet, a tribute to the editors' skill.'
`The preface and introduction to this collection of essays...which includes several interesting, well-written and worthwhile contributions.'
`Accessible survey of three centuries of the Bank's history.'
Times Literary Supplement
`Provides an excellent historical summary.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`A distinguished group of historians and economists provide an authoritative assessment of the major themes in the bank's history.'
`This wide-ranging institutional survey will be useful to readers interested in British economic history or banking.'
`The authors have ... provided a refreshing variety of retrospectives on different sub-periods of the Bank's 300 years and on different aspects of its evolution as a central bank.'
The Economic History Review
`The book is beautifully produced ... in one good-sized volume there is here an excellent coverage of the origins, growth, and development of the Bank which draws on archives not previously exploited. It is a fitting commemorative volume for the Bank's 300th anniversary.'
`The very praiseworthy ambition of the editors and organisers seems to have been to provide as much coverage as possible of the Bank's history in both its domestic and international setting from its founding to the present day - and to do this thematically ... The book is beautifully produced ... in one good-sized volume there is here an excellent coverage of the origins, growth, and development of the Bank which draws on archives not previously exploited.
It is a fitting commemorative volume for the Bank's 300th anniversary.'
`It is to the credit of the editors and the contributors that it represents both a celebration and a serious scholarly analysis of the Bank over the past three centuries ... This book makes two important contributions to understanding this debate. On the one hand, it provides an extremely valuable perspective on how the Bank of England has come to occupy such a critical and influential position in the British economy over the whole of its history. On the
other, it underlines how much the Bank's role has altered since Norman became Governor.'
Business Archives Sources and History
`this is a serious and scholarly book aimed at the specialist and not the general reader ... There is no shortage of good histories of the Bank of England, but no scholarly ones roam over long periods and analyse long-term developments in the context of specific influences exerted upon the Bank by external forces. This is the task of this book and it is achieved with distinction within 200 pages which is no mean feat; the contributors know their stuff ... a
remarkably good, useful and ambitious book. The publishers have also done a good job for the relatively modest cover price.'
John Orbell, Financial History Review, Vol 3 1996
`All of the chapters can be read for substantial intellectual profit and it would be invidious to highlight individual contributions ... the editors are to be congratulated for assembling an excellent team of authors who, collectively, have produced an indispensable work of scholarship on a critically important national institution.'
The Historical Associaton
`It succeeds in demystifying many of the Bank's more arcane activities and, in taking the long view, it does offer a different perspective on the Bank's evolution than was available before ... a considerable addition to our understanding of the financial history of modern Britain.'
English Historical Review
1: Bowen: The Bank of England in the 18th Century
2: Kynaston: The Bank of England and the Government
3: Cairncross: The Bank of England and the British Economy
4: Cotterell: The Bank of England and International Central Banking 1694-1970
5: Pringle: The Bank of England and International Central Banking 1970-1994
6: Roberts: The Bank of England and the City of London
7: Hennessy: The Governors, Directors, and Manahement of the Bank of England
8: Pennant Rea: The Bank of England: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Appendix 1: Chronology 1694-1994
Appendix 2: Governors, Directors and Senior Officials 1694-1994
Appendix 3: Sayer on the Bank Rate