‘Not an ordinary bank, but a great engine of state,’ Adam Smith declared of the Bank of England as long ago as 1776. The Bank is now over 320 years old, and throughout almost all that time it has been central to British history. Yet to most people, despite its increasingly high profile, its history is largely unknown.
Till Time’s Last Sand by David Kynaston is the first authoritative and accessible single-volume history of the Bank of England, opening with the Bank’s founding in 1694 in the midst of the English financial revolution and closing in 2013 with Mark Carney succeeding Mervyn King as Governor.
This is a history that fully addresses the important debates over the years about the Bank’s purpose and modes of operation and that covers such aspects as monetary and exchange-rate policies and relations with government, the City and other central banks. Yet this is also a narrative that does full justice to the leading episodes and characters of the Bank, while taking care to evoke a real sense of the place itself, with its often distinctively domestic side.
Deploying an array of piquant and revealing material from the Bank’s rich archives, Till Time’s Last Sand is a multi-layered and insightful portrait of one of our most important national institutions, from one of our leading historians.