Current Scholarship
The 1783 Proposal for a Readymade Note at the Bank of England

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Author: David M. Batt

This article analyses the 1783 proposal to issue readymade notes to the Bank of England’s private banking customers. Prior to 1783, I argue that there were two broad categories under which the Bank issued its notes into circulation: (1) notes which were issued to government in relation to the Bank’s role as facilitator of the fiscal revenues of state, and (2) notes which were issued to its private banking customers. The readymade note was a form of paper money which the Bank had previously been issuing only to government and, unlike the notes which the Bank originally issued to its private banking customers, was made out in advance of its being issued into circulation. I argue that the transformation suggested in the 1783 proposal was made possible by the unique relationship which the Bank had always had with the government, and I will make three observations based on identifying how this transformation took place.

David M. Batt, “The 1783 Proposal for a Readymade Note at the Bank of England.”Financial History Review, 2021, 1–26. doi:10.1017/S0968565021000123, available at


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