Montagu Norman Diaries 1913-44

Montagu Norman, the Bank of England’s longest serving Governor (1920-44), was instrumental in overseeing the Bank’s transition from a private bank to what is now recognised as a modern central bank. 

Educated at Eton and going on to spend only a year at King's College, Cambridge, Norman left university to travel in Europe before joining first Martin’s Bank and then Brown Shipley 

Having developed his expertise in international finance while at Brown Shipley, he began his long association with the Bank, becoming a Director in 1907. Much in demand as an adviser during the First World War, he left Brown Shipley at the end of 1915 to take up the post of Assistant to the Deputy Governor, Sir Brien Cockayne. Norman became Deputy Governor in 1918 and two years later became Governor of the Bank of England.

Norman played a critical role in rebuilding the international monetary system after the First World War. He was closely associated with the creation of the Bank for International Settlements and the League of Nations. Under Norman, the Bank became actively involved in supporting British industry through the promotion of rationalisation schemes and through the establishment of the Securities Management Trust and the Banker’s Industrial Development Company. During his period of office the Exchange Equalisation Account was established and up to and during the Second World War Norman made significant contributions to the operation of monetary and financial policy. In early 1944 he became ill after a fall and retired as Governor at the age of 73, accepting a peerage and becoming Lord St Clere. He died in February 1950.  
Much has been written about Montagu Norman and there are numerous sources held in the Bank of England Archive, which are available for research. One of the key sources relating to Norman is his series of appointment diaries covering the period 1913 to 1944 which have now been digitised. Although largely recording his daily working routine, they give many insights into his personal life and record events of national importance. The early diaries contain little comment, but there is more detail from 1918 when Norman became Deputy Governor. 
The diaries are written in both pencil and pen. They are heavily abbreviated, individuals are often identified only by initials, printed advertising material included in the diaries has been omitted, as have the blank pages at the beginning of each volume. All the actual diary pages have been included. There are two diaries for 1918, the year Norman became Deputy Governor and both have been included.

Archive Catalogue Reference: ADM34/1-33

This page was last updated 31 January 2023