‘Writes a fair hand and appears to be well qualified’: the recruitment of Bank of England clerks, 1800–1815

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Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-44
Number of pages26
JournalFinancial History Review
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2015

Keywords

  • banking
  • recruitment
  • human capital
  • skills

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