Bank of England

Bank of England, central bank and note-issuing institution of Great Britain. Popularly known as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, its main office stands on the street of that name in London. The bank has eight branches, all of which are located in the British Isles. Although Bank of England notes are legal tender throughout Great Britain and Northern Ireland, banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland also issue notes that may be either used as currency themselves or exchanged for Bank of England issues. In all matters beside note issue, the Bank of England has sole central banking functions in Great Britain. The affairs of the bank are controlled by a governor, a deputy, and 16 directors.

It was founded (1694) as a commercial bank by William Paterson with a capital of £1.2 million, which was advanced to the government in return for banking privileges, including the right to issue notes up to the amount of its capital. In 1709 the capital was doubled; the charter was renewed in 1742, 1764, and 1781. The bank's facilities proved a great asset in English commercial, and later industrial, expansion. The bank's functions were both public and private; it safeguarded the English pound and also operated for private profit. Efficient regulation was assured by the Bank Charter Act of 1844, which laid the basis for the bank's modern structure. The issue department, which handles the issuing of bank notes for general circulation, was separated from the banking department, which handles the remaining banking functions, including the management of the public debt, and serves as the depository of government funds and as the staple bank of England. It was privately owned until 1946, when an act of Parliament provided for its nationalization. The stockholders were compensated, and the bank subsequently dropped virtually all its private business. In 1997 the bank was given the power to set interest rates, a function formerly performed by the cabinet; at the same time its oversight of the British banking industry was transferred to the Securities and Investments Board

See J. H. Clapham, The Bank of England: A History (2 vol., 1944; repr. 1966); J. Giuseppi, The Bank of England (1966); R. Roberts and D. Kynaston, ed., The Bank of England: Money, Power, and Influence 1694–1994 (1995); The Bank of England,1891–1944 (1976, repr. 1986) by R. S. Sayres and 1950s to 1979 (2010) by F. Capie.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Bank of England, 1891-1944
R. S. Sayers.
Cambridge University Press, vol.2, 1976
FREE! English Public Finance from the Revolution of 1688: With Chapters on the Bank of England
Harvey E. Fisk.
Bankers Trust Co, 1920
The Operations of the Bank of England, 1890-1908: A Dynamic Probit Approach
Davutyan, Nurban; Parke, William R.
Journal of Money, Credit & Banking, Vol. 27, No. 4, November 1995
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
'The Projecting Age'; William Patterson and the Bank of England
Armitage, David.
History Today, Vol. 44, No. 5, June 1994
The Pound Sterling: A History of English Money
Albert Feavearyear.
Clarendon Press, 1963 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Foundation of the Bank of England" begins on p. 125
Central Banking, Crises, and Global Economy
William Frazer.
Praeger Publishers, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of the Bank of England begins on p. 17
City of Capital: Politics and Markets in the English Financial Revolution
Bruce G. Carruthers.
Princeton University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Six "Politics and the Joint-Stock Companies"
Adam Smith's Support for Money and Banking Regulation: A Case of Inconsistency
West, Edwin G.
Journal of Money, Credit & Banking, Vol. 29, No. 1, February 1997
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
FREE! Historical Essays
Henry Adams.
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1891
Librarian’s tip: "The Bank of England Restriction, 1797-1821" begins on p. 178
Should the Bank of England Be Independent?
Blake, Andrew P.; Westaway, Peter F.
National Institute Economic Review, No. 143, February 1993
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Bank of England's Monetary Policy
Tootell, Geoffrey M. B.
New England Economic Review, Spring 2002
Monetary Problems of the British Empire
S. E. Harris; Bureau of International Research of Harvard University and Radcliffe College.
The Macmillan Company, 1931
Librarian’s tip: "Reserves of the Bank of England" begins on p. 130
The Architecture of Sir John Soane
Dorothy Stroud.
Studio, 1961
Librarian’s tip: "The Bank of England" begins on p. 65
The London Stock Exchange: A History
Ranald C. Michie.
Oxford University Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "From Market to Exchange, 1693-1801"
British War Finance, 1914-1919
Henry F. Grady.
Columbia University Press, 1927
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "The Bank of England"
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator