University of Hertfordshire

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  • 907094

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-44
JournalFinancial History Review
Journal publication date6 Sep 2015
Early online date9 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2015


The financial strains of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars had a significant impact on the Bank of England. In its position as banker to the state and manager of the state’s debt, it experienced a significant increase in workload and thus was forced rapidly to expand its workforce. From a complement of around 300 in the mid-1780s, the number of clerks employed had increased to over 900 in 1815. Using a unique set of records preserved in the Bank’s archives, this article investigates the backgrounds and skills of the men recruited during the expansion of the early nineteenth century. It finds a significant gap between the skills required by the Bank and the skills possessed by its potential workforce.


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

ID: 8116764