The City: Origins, Structure and Practices

  • Geoffrey Ingham
Part of the Contemporary Social Theory book series (CONTSTHE)


The City is unique: no other international commercial, banking and financial centre has ever enjoyed such a lengthy and continuous period of operation — over 250 years.1 And in this crucially important respect, Britain is consequently also unique: no other industrialised society has ever acted as host to a centre which has undertaken such a large share of the world capitalist system’s commercial, banking and financial activities. Britain was not only the ‘workshop of the world’, but also its ‘clearing house’ and whilst the former status has long been lost, the latter — despite some recent competition from other centres — has not. The consequences of this enduring economic activity for the development of the dominant classes, the state system, and the economy of Britain can scarcely be over estimated.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    The following account is based primarily on: William M. Clarke, The City in the World Economy (Harmondsworth; Penguin, 1965), and Inside the City (London: Allen of Unwin, 1979);Google Scholar
  2. Derek F. Channon, British Banking Strategy and the International Challenge (London: Macmillan, 1977); Report of the Committee to Review the Functioning of the Financial Institutions (Wilson Report) HMSO Cmnd. 7937 (London: 1980); Evidence by the Committee of London Clearing Banks to the Committee to Review the Functioning of Financial Institutions (London: 1977); London as an International Banking Centre, Evidence from the British Bankers’ Association for the Committee to Review the Functioning of Financial Institutions, (London: 1977);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. G.A. Fletcher, History of the London Discount Market (London: Macmillan, 1976);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hamish McRae and Frances Cairncross, Capital City (London: Magnum, 1977).Google Scholar
  5. See also Richard Minns, Take over the City: The Case for Public Ownership of Financial Institutions (London: Pluto Press, 1982);Google Scholar
  6. Yao-Su Hu, National Attitudes and the Financing of Industry (London: PEP, 1975).Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    J.R. Sargent, ‘UK Performance in Services’, in F. Blackaby, (ed.) De-Industrialisation (London: Heinemann, 1979) p. 105.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Quoted in Anthony Sampson, The Changing Anatomy of Britain (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1981) p.279.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Ibid; Rondo Cameron (ed.) Banking in the Early Stages of Industrialisation (London: Oxford University Press, 1967) ch.2.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Marcello de Cecco, Money and Empire (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1974).Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    P.L. Cottrell, British Overseas Investment in the Nineteenth Century (London: Macmillan, 1975) p.30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 13.
    The gold standard was in reality a gold — sterling standard. See David Williams, ‘The Evolution of the Sterling System’ in C.R. Whittlesey and J.S.G. Wilson, (eds) Essays in Money and Banking (Oxford University Press, 1968) pp.266–7.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Barrington Moore Jr, The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967).Google Scholar
  14. 20.
    E.V. Morgan and W.A. Thomas, The Stock Exchange (London: Allen & Unwin, 1962).Google Scholar
  15. 39.
    Richard Minns, Pension Funds and British Capitalism (London: Heinemann, 1980).Google Scholar
  16. 41.
    J. Revell, The British Financial System, (London: Macmillan 1973) p.251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 43.
    E.R. Shaw, The London Money Market (London: Heinemann, 1981) p.5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Geoffrey Ingham 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Ingham
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CambridgeUK

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