The Monetary Foundations of Britain’s Economy in the Early 19th Century

50 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2018 Last revised: 24 Jul 2020

See all articles by Carolyn Sissoko

Carolyn Sissoko

University of the West of England (UWE)

Date Written: October 9, 2018


This paper studies the development of the practice of central banking in the early 19th century by engaging in a detailed analysis of the Bank of England’s changing policies with respect to its discounts and lending to the private sector. To set the scene, the practices that characterized the banks and money market of the era are described, establishing a close connection between the bill market and the banking system. This paper, then, finds that in the early years of the Restriction the operations of the Bank were completely transformed, and goes on to demonstrate that the Bullionist Controversy and the 1810 crisis led the Bank both to acknowledge privately its duties to the public, and also to restructure its discount policies with a view to promoting financial and monetary stability.

Keywords: Bank of England, financial stability, banking, discount market, real bills, bullionist controversy, central banking

JEL Classification: E58, N13, N23

Suggested Citation

Sissoko, Carolyn, The Monetary Foundations of Britain’s Economy in the Early 19th Century (October 9, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Carolyn Sissoko (Contact Author)

University of the West of England (UWE) ( email )

Blackberry Hill Bristol
Bristol, Avon BS16 1QY
United Kingdom

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