Directors' Annual Lists 1694-1950

The £1,200,000 raised by 1,520 subscribers led to the Bank of England’s formation in 1694. One of the first tasks was to elect the individuals who would oversee and manage the business of the Bank.

The Directors of the Bank were to be elected along with the Governor and Deputy Governor by proprietors who held no less than £500 of Bank stock, with the election to take place on an annual basis between 25 March and 25 April.

The election of the first Governor, Deputy Governor and twenty-four Directors took place on the 11 July 1694. The draft Charter stated that £2,000 of Bank stock must be held by an individual in order for them to qualify for the position of a Director.

Those elected in the first group of Directors along with the first Governor Sir John Houblon and Deputy Governor Michael Godfrey included Sir John Huband, Sir James Houblon and Sir Henry Furnese. William Paterson, who is recognised as the first person to suggest the scheme of a National Bank in England, was also elected as a Director. Their names along with the other elected Directors were added to the Charter which was subsequently sealed on the 27 July 1694. Many of the early Directors at the Bank maintained successful roles as merchants in the City of London and some later Directors were also Members of Parliament.

Following the nationalisation of the Bank in 1946, the number of Directors was reduced from twenty-four members to sixteen. This number was later reduced to five executive members of the Bank and up to nine non-executive members. Members of Court are now all Crown appointments. 

These records contain the names of those that were elected as Directors of the Bank of England. The lists of names have been recorded in different formats with the first two annual lists containing indices. Following nationalisation, the names of the Directors were published in the Bank’s Annual Reports.

Archive Catalogue Reference: M5/436-437, M5/440

This page was last updated 31 January 2023