Банковские системы: России, Америки, Британии
England, Bank of
The Bank of England was incorporated by act of Parliament in 1694 with the
immediate purpose of raising funds to allow the English government to wage
war against France in the Low Countries (see). A royal allowed the bank to
operate as a joint-stock bank with limited liability. No other joint-stock
banks were permitted in England and Wales until 1826. This special status
and its position as the government's banker gave the bank considerable
The bank was located first in Mercers' Hall and then in Grocers' Hall, but
it was moved to its permanent location on Threadneedle Street in the 1730s.
By that time it had become the largest and most prestigious financial
institution in England, and its bank notes were widely circulated. As a
result, it became banker to other banks, which, by maintaining balances
with the Bank of England, could settle debts among themselves. The bank was
threatened by the economic instability that accompanied the, but its
standing was also considerably enhanced by its actions in raising funds for
Britain's involvement in those conflicts.
During the 19th century the bank gradually assumed the responsibilities of
a central bank. In 1833 it began to print legal tender, and it undertook
the roles of lender of last resort and guardian of the nation's gold
reserves in the following few decades.
The bank was privately owned until 1946, when it was nationalized. It funds
public borrowing, issues bank notes, and manages the country's gold and
foreign exchange reserves. It is an important adviser to the government on
monetary policy and is largely responsible for implementing the chosen
policy by its dealings in the money, bond, and foreign exchange markets.
The bank's freedom of action in this regard was considerably enhanced when
it was given the power to determine short-term interest rates in 1997
The Colonial Office in the Bank of England, unsigned watercolour by one of
Sir John Soane's draftsmen, c. 1818; in Sir John Soane's Museum, London.
By courtesy of the trustees of Sir John Soane's Museum, London; photograph,