Saving the City: The Great Financial Crisis of 1914

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Overview


In London, the world's foremost financial centre, the week before the outbreak of the First World War saw the breakdown of the markets, culminating with the closure for the first time ever of the London Stock Exchange on Friday 31 July. Outside the Bank of England a long anxious queue waited to change bank notes for gold sovereigns. Bankers believed that a run on the banks was underway, threatening the collapse of the banking system--all with the nation on the eve of war.

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Overview


In London, the world's foremost financial centre, the week before the outbreak of the First World War saw the breakdown of the markets, culminating with the closure for the first time ever of the London Stock Exchange on Friday 31 July. Outside the Bank of England a long anxious queue waited to change bank notes for gold sovereigns. Bankers believed that a run on the banks was underway, threatening the collapse of the banking system--all with the nation on the eve of war.

This book tells the extraordinary, and largely unknown, story of this acute financial crisis that surged over London and around the globe. Drawing on diaries, letters, and memoirs of participants and a wide range of press coverage, as well as government and bank archives, it presents a lively and colourful account of a remarkable episode in financial and social history, outlining the drama of the collapse and the measures taken to contain it. This crucial and compelling 'missing piece' in the world's financial development was the first true global financial crisis, and proved a landmark in the management of financial crises.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Lucid and masterly... The story of a financial crisis, when told with the knowledge and skill of a Richard Roberts, is a mix of detective story (the gory but fascinating details of what happened and who did it) and compelling political and social history." --From the Foreword by Lord King of Lothbury, former Governor of the Bank of England

"A timely reminder that if we don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past then we first need to understand them." --George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer

"A fascinating insight into a half-forgotten crisis. Written with a verve and clarity that any reader can savour." --Sebastian Faulks, author of Birdsong and A Week in December

"A masterly account of the financial crisis that brought the first great age of globalization to a close. Richard Roberts's narrative is finely wrought and wholly absorbing." --John Plender, Columnist, Financial Times

"Richard Roberts is an authority on the history of the City of London. He has brought his great expertise to the hitherto largely unexplored financial crisis of 1914. A masterly study brought to life with extensive quotation from contemporaries." --Forrest Capie, Professor Emeritus of Economic History, Cass Business School

"This is a superbly researched, calmly authoritative, and finely told account of a momentous episode in modern financial history. Richard Roberts has a formidable grasp of the technical intricacies but is also fully alive to the human dimension, as politicians, mandarins, bankers, and others jostle in not always seemly pursuit of self-preservation as well as the greater good. The drama of 1914 may until now have been the 'unknown' financial crisis; that is assuredly the case no longer." --David Kynaston, author The City of London, 1815-2000

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199646548
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 698,564
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Roberts, Professor of Contemporary History, Institute of Contemporary British History, King's College London

Richard Roberts is Professor of Contemporary History at the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College London. He has held fellowships at Downing College, Cambridge, Princeton University, and the Bank of England. He specialises in financial history and is author of many publications in this field including histories of City investment bank Schroders (1992) and consortium bank Orion (2001). His contemporary studies Wall Street (2002) and The City (2008) are published by The Economist.

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Table of Contents

Part I Breakdown
1. House Closed
2. Bolt from the Blue
3. Worst Days
Part II Containment
4. Bankers Scheme
5. Treasury View
6. War Conference
7. Banks Reopen
Part III Revival and Repression
8. Cold Storage
9. Fixing the Foreign Exchanges
10. House Open
Part IV Perspectives
11. Global Financial Crisis
12. Perspectives and Conclusions

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