I am Reader in History and Associate Dean for Research in the School of Humanities at the University of Hertfordshire. I came to academia after spending twelve years working in the City trading interest rate and foreign exchange derivatives. My research focuses on early modern financial markets and investment behaviour and the organisation and management of the 18th-century Bank of England. The former interest has also led to an extensive exploration of the correspondence of the Jeake family of Rye, which, among all sorts of interesting gems, contains a series of letters detailing Samuel Jeake’s use of London’s financial markets during the 1690s.
My publications include articles in Past and Present, Economic History Review, History, Financial History Review and Women’s History Review. My monograph published by Cambridge University Press entitled The Origins of English Financial Markets: investment and speculation before the South Sea Bubble was winner of the Economic History Society’s first monograph prize in 2010. I have also published a sourcebook for the British Academy Records of Social and Economic History series entitled The Worlds of the Jeake Family of Rye, 1640-1736.
I am currently working on a monograph: Virtuous Bankers: a day in the life of the late eighteenth-century Bank of England. The book presents an in-depth study of the eighteenth-century Bank of England at work. The narrative follows a day in the life of the institution beginning as the gates open at dawn and continuing through a twenty-four hour cycle. It ranges from the quiet mundanities of issuing notes and keeping ledgers via the noise and chaos of the financial market and the threat from rioting crowds to the aesthetics of one of London’s finest buildings and the messages of creditworthiness embedded in that architecture and in the very visible actions of the Bank’s clerks. This book will explain why the Bank owned by, and operated for, the benefit of its shareholders came to be thought of as ‘a great engine of state’ and how this private organisation became the guardian of the public credit upon which was based the economic and geopolitical strength of Britain during the long eighteenth century.
I am also Chair of the Economic History Society’s Women’s Committee The Committee’s primary purpose is to promote the careers of women in economic and social history. It also promotes women’s history and feminist approaches to economic and social history. Currently, the Committee runs an annual workshop, a training day, a networking event and a dedicated session at the Annual Conference of the Economic History Society.