Past governors

A timeline of Bank of England governors from 1842-1944

Our new Governor is Andrew Bailey. He is our 121st Governor and began his term on 16 March 2020.

Our historic photograph collection covers many subjects including portraits of our previous governors – this timeline covers governors in post from 1842-1944.

The Bank of England Museum also holds artworks of many of the early governors. Portraits can be viewed on the Art UK website.


Montagu Norman

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

Read his diaries from 1913-44.


Brien Cokayne

Educated at Charterhouse, Cokayne joined the merchant firm of Antony Gibbs in 1883 and was made partner in 1901. In 1902 Cokayne joined the Court of the Bank of England as a Non-Executive Director, and served as Deputy Governor from 1915 to 1918 and then Governor between 1918 and 1920. He remained as a Director until his death in 1932.


Walter Cunliffe

Following an education at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, Cunlifee established the merchant bank 'Cunliffe Bros' in 1890. He began his role as Director at the Bank of England in 1895, before becoming Deputy Governor, and then Governor in 1913. Cunliffe is recognised as averting a financial crisis at the outbreak of the First World War. This led to him being asked to remain as Governor until 1918, three years longer than the ususal two-year term of office.


Alfred Cole

Educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, Cole was called to the Bar in 1880. He was a Director of the Bank between 1895 and 1920, serving as Deputy Governor (1909 -1911) and Governor (1911-13).


Reginald Johnston

Johnston was appointed a Director of the Bank in 1893, later serving as Deputy Governor and Governor.


William Campbell


Alexander Wallace


Samuel Morley


Samuel Gladstone


Hugh Smith


Albert Sandeman

In around 1851, Sandeman joined the wine merchant company of his great-uncle, before becoming head of family business George G. Sandeman, Sons & Co. He became a Director at the Bank of England in 1866, a position which he remained in until 1918, as well as going on to serve as Deputy Governor and Governor from 1895-97. 


David Powell


William Lidderdale


James Currie


John Gilliat


John Birch


Edward Palmer


Henry Gibbs

Gibbs was Governor from 1875-77, as well as later becoming a member of the royal commission on the stock exchange from 1877-78. He was known to have several interests including genealogy, card games and currency, and was an advocate for bimetallism, becoming President of the Bimetallic League. 


Benjamin Greene

Greene's governship is recognised as ensuring London remained relatively unaffected by the financial crisis that took place in 1873 across Europe and North America. Along with Henry Hucks Gibbs, a new direction for the Bank's monetary policy was developed, later known as the Greene & Gibbs policy. 


George Lyall


Robert Crawford


Thomas Hunt


Henry Holland


Kirkman Hodgson


Alfred Latham


Bonamy Dobree

The son of Samuel Dobree, the Head of the House of Dobree and Sons, Bonamy Dobree was a successful merchant in the City during the nineteenth century, but it is his time as the Governor of the Bank of England for which he is perhaps more widely recognised. The diaries covering his years as Deputy Governor and Governor, offer a fascinating insight into the day to day work, responsibilities and challenges which the Bank faced in the mid-19th century.

Read his diaries from 1857-61.



Sheffield Neave


John Hubbard


Thomson Hankey

Hankey worked for his father's firm of West Indian merchants and was a Director of the Bank from 1835 until 1848. As well as becoming Deputy Governor, and later Governor, Hankey was Liberal MP for Peterborough (1853-68, 1874-80).


James Morris


John Heath


William Cotton

Following in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, Cotton became a Director of the Bank of England in 1822. He was Deputy Governor from 1841 to 1842 and Governor from 1842-45, with his term unusually extended from two to three years. As Governor, he worked closely with Sir Robert Peel and Henry Goulburn in the formulation and implementation of the Bank Charter Act of 1844.

This page was last updated 16 March 2020
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