Richard Sidney Sayers (1908–1989)

  • Alec Cairncross
  • Charles GoodhartEmail author


Richard Sayers’s greatest strength was as an economic historian of institutional changes within the British financial system, especially relating to the Bank of England, for which he became the second official historian covering the years 1891–1944, but also writing the histories of Lloyds and Gilletts, and a wider study entitled Financial Policy, 19391945. Nevertheless, he is best known for two other contributions. First, his textbook, Modern Banking, remained required reading on this subject for all British undergraduates from 1937 until the early 1970s; second, he played the major role in the domestic monetary analysis of the Radcliffe Report (1959). This latter role was often not well received, and his historical and institutional approach came to be treated as unfashionable and outdated.


Banking Radcliffe report Money supply Liquidity War finance Bank of england Bank rate 


Main Works by Richard Sidney Sayers

  1. Ashton, T.S. and R.S. Sayers (eds) (1953). Papers in English Monetary History. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Sayers, R.S. (1936). Bank of England Operations, 1890–1914. London: P.S. King and Son.Google Scholar
  3. Sayers, R.S. (1938). Modern Banking. London: Oxford University Press. Seventh edition, 1967. Google Scholar
  4. Sayers, R.S. (1940). ‘Business Men and the Terms of Borrowing’. Oxford Economic Papers, 3(February): 23–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Sayers, R.S. (1951). ‘Business Men and the Terms of Borrowing’. Chapter 1 (Part VI) in T. Wilson and P.W.S. Andrews (eds) Oxford Studies in the Price Mechanism. Oxford: Clarendon Press: 67–74.Google Scholar
  6. Sayers, R.S. (ed.) (1952). Banking in the British Commonwealth. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Sayers, R.S. (1956). Financial Policy, 1939–45. London: HMSO and Longmans, Green.Google Scholar
  8. Sayers, R.S. (1957). Central Banking after Bagehot. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
  9. Sayers, R.S. (1957). Lloyds Bank in the History of English Banking. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Sayers, R.S. (1960). ‘The Return to Gold’. Chapter XII in L.S. Pressnell (ed.) Studies in the Industrial Revolution: Presented to T.S. Ashton. London: Athlone Press: 313–327.Google Scholar
  11. Sayers, R.S. (ed.) (1962). Banking in Western Europe. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  12. Sayers, R.S. (ed.) (1963). Economic Writings of James Pennington. London: London School of Economics.Google Scholar
  13. Sayers, R.S. (1967). A History of Economic Change in England, 1880–1939. London Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
  14. Sayers, R.S. (1968). One of the eight members of the report Fiscal Policy for a Balanced Economy: Experience, Problems and Prospects, edited by W. Heller. Paris: OECD: Especially pages 62–69 on the UK experience. Google Scholar
  15. Sayers, R.S. (1968). Gilletts in the London Money Market, 1867–1967. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Google Scholar
  16. Sayers, R.S. (1976). The Bank of England, 1891–1944. Two volumes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar

Other Works Referred To

  1. Alford, R. (2009). Life and LSE. Brighton: Book Guild Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, A.M., S.R. Cope, L.J.H. Dark and H.J. Witheridge (1938). Commercial Banking Legislation and Control. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. Cairncross, A. (1991). ‘Richard Sidney Sayers, 1908–1989’. Proceedings of the British Academy, 76: 545–561.Google Scholar
  4. Eady, W. (1957). ‘Review of Financial Policy, 1939–1945, by R.S. Sayers’. Economic Journal, 67(267): 493–498.Google Scholar
  5. Pollard, S. (1978). ‘Review of the Bank of England, 1891–1944, by R.S. Sayers’. Economic History Review (New Series), 31(4): 672–673.Google Scholar
  6. Radcliffe Report (1959). Committee on the Working of the Monetary System. Cmnd. 827. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  7. Robertston, D.H. (1951). ‘Obituary: Philip Barrett Whale, 1898-1950’. Economic Journal, 61(242): 439–442.Google Scholar
  8. Tew, B. (1957). ‘Review of Financial Policy, 1939–45, by R.S. Sayers’. Economic History Review, New Series, 9(3): 503–504.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.London School of EconomicsUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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