Inspection and efficiency at the eighteenth-century Bank of England

Anne Murphy

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This article explores the impact of the reforming zeal that emerged during the 1780s on British public finances, in particular, the Bank of England. Although a private company and, therefore, exempt from examination by a Parliament-appointed Commission for Examining the Public Accounts, the Bank did establish its own investigation. Charged with examining all aspects of the Bank’s business, three of the institution’s directors spent a year interviewing staff and observing practice. Their recommendations for reform were limited but the system of inspection once started was not halted. The result was tighter internal controls and maintenance of the efficiency for which the Bank was already justly feted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-169
Number of pages23
JournalHistoire et Mesure
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • banking, public finance, regulation, inspection


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