Welcome

Welcome to the website for the Centre for Financial History at Newnham College, which was established in July 2009 with a generous grant of seed money from Winton Capital Management.

Despite the resurgence of interest in the history of financial capitalism sparked by the current global economic crisis, our centre and the Winton Institute for Monetary History at Oxford are the only two dedicated research centres for financial or monetary history in British Isles. With distinguished Faculties of History and of Economics and with a business school that boasts an impressive endowment to fund research in modern finance, Cambridge offers the ideal location for such a venture.

The Centre’s core mission is to facilitate cutting-edge research in financial history, to encourage its application to economic theory and to public policy, and to explore rigorous and lasting platforms for the dissemination of the fruits of research in financial history. The Centre not only serves the Cambridge community as one of the seven constituent centres of Cambridge Finance, but also hopes to bring together financial historians at British and Irish institutions to work on collaborative ventures. In Cambridge, we participate in the History Faculty’s Economic and Social History sub-group, where we offer an MPhil paper on financial history. We always welcome enquiries from postgraduate research students about affiliating with the centre.

Our Financial History Seminar Series (which meets fortnightly in term) is open to the public, but does not run in the Michaelmas term. From Michaelmas 2011, we have agreed to participate in the Core Seminar in the History Faculty. The Core Seminar runs in lieu of individual research seminars.  We have also agreed to host the Cambridge Finance Weekly Workshop Series.

The re-development of the European State Finance Database and our first annual conference in March 2010 on ‘Questioning “Credible Commitment”‘ offer examples of our approach to interdisciplinary work in financial history. Dr Coffman also holds an INET grant to digitise the English Corn Returns, 1770-1865. In a related vein, our second annual conference on ‘Ottoman-European Exchanges in Commerce, Finance and Culture, c.1450-c.1914′ was in March 2011. In November, our director, Dr Coffman, convened the 22nd Annual EHS Women’s Workshop on ‘Housing and Housing Markets in Historical Perspective’ on 12 November. We also co-sponsored, in conjunction with the Cambridge University History Society (Clio), a debate on ‘Expansionary Fiscal Contraction’ at the Cambridge Union on 29 November 2011. Duncan Needham and Anthony Hotson are co-editing a volume based on that event which will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2014.

In July 2012 our third annual conference pushed the cross-disciplinary boundaries even further by exploring ‘Anglo-French Perspectives on the Commerce of Literature and the Literature of Commerce in the Long Eighteenth Century’. In February 2012, we held a symposium entitled ‘Towards a Structural Analysis of the Eurozone Crisis’ in which we discussed the themes that we explored at length in a follow-up conference on the 16th and 17th of September 2012 entitled ‘The Political Economy of the Eurozone Crisis’. We are also proud to have hosted an ESRC-funded postgraduate conference, entitled ‘Credit Where Due’, which was held at the college on the 4th and 5th of September 2012. In March 2013, we held a conference on ‘The English Corn Returns and the State, 1685-1864′ inspired by the INET grant of the same name. Those who are interested in these themes may enjoy the director’s Gresham lecture on 10 December 2013. Those who are interested in the Corn Returns themselves should check out The Corn Returns Online.

In collaboration with the ICMA Centre at the University of Reading, in 2013 we launched a new monograph series with Palgrave Macmillan, Studies in the History of Finance, which now has nine titles in the pipeline (in print, in production or under contract).  We also published a volume inspired by our inaugural conference with Cambridge University Press. Questioning Credible Commitment: Perspectives on the Rise of Financial Capitalism was co-edited by D’Maris Coffman, Adrian Leonard and Larry Neal. Launch parties for both will be held in early 2014. We are delighted that this volume was recently reviewed by The Economist. D’Maris Coffman and Larry Neal are also co-editing a four-volume work on the History of Financial Crises for Routledge, which is due to be published in September 2014.

We are currently compiling a global register of financial historians. If you would like to join our register or the mailing list, please contact the director.