Historical question, I can not find the answer to anywhere.

Callum made this Freedom of Information request to Bank of England

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Bank of England,

I understand that pre 1931 Bank of England promissory notes were backed by gold, and bearer could claim the promise made to them by the Bank of England.

I am curious as to what exactly the bearer used to be promised. for example, pre 1931 Was, for arguments sake lets say, a £5 BoE promissory note worth 5 pounds in weight of gold? Pound for pound, is that why £1 is called a pound?

Also could you please clarify for me what exact legislation stopped this procedure, who passed it, when it was passed and if it is a United kingdom statute, act or legislation passed by government or a Bank of England exclusive legislation?

Writing an dissertation on the subject.

Thank you,

Yours faithfully,

Callum.

Enquiries, Bank of England

Dear Callum

We acknowledge receipt of your email dated 9 June (our ref V 98032). We will reply in due course.

If you have any queries please contact the Bank’s Public Information and Enquiries Group on 020 7601 4878.

Yours sincerely

Information Compliance Team, Public Information & Enquiries Group
Bank of England |Threadneedle Street|London|EC2R 8AH|+44 20 7601 4878 [Bank of England request email]

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Dear Enquiries,

I see you have acknowledged receipt of my FOI, this is just a
reminder that the questions asked have still not been answered.

I am politely requesting an answer.

Thank you,

Yours sincerely,

Callum.

Enquiries, Bank of England

Dear Callum

Thank you for your e-mail.

Please be assured that we are actively considering your request and will respond to you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Information Compliance Team, Public Information & Enquiries Group
Bank of England |Threadneedle Street|London|EC2R 8AH|+44 20 7601 4878
[Bank of England request email]

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Enquiries, Bank of England

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Wilson

Please find attached a response to your e-mail of 9 June below.

Yours sincerely

Information Compliance Team, Public Information & Enquiries Group
Bank of England |Threadneedle Street|London|EC2R 8AH|+44 20 7601 4878
[Bank of England request email]

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Ron H-W left an annotation ()

These additional notes may help towards the requester's dissertation:
When the "pound" was first used as a unit of currency in England, it was for one pound of silver accrding to the "tower pound" of 7680 tower grains or 5400 troy grains, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_(mass...
Hence, in medieval times, the penny (of sterling = 92.5% silver) actually weighed 22.5 troy grains.
With inflation over the centuries since then, the amount of silver was reduced, so that from 1816 to 1920 there were 66 shillings (792 pence) coined from a troy pound (5760 grains) of silver, whereas from the 1660s until 1810 there had been just 62 shillings coined from a troy pound (of sterling silver).
In times of war (Napoleonic, World War I) it was considered unpatriotic to demand silver or gold coin rather than banknotes.
Except for this, before 1931, banknotes were interchanegable with the appropriate number of guineas (pre-1817) or sovereigns (1917 on). The sovereign of 20 shillings contained/contains 7.988 grams of 22-carat gold, and the guinea (stabilised in 1717 at 21 shillings) had been in the same proportion, i.e. 8.387 grams - actually 89 guineas from 2 pounds or 1869 sovereigns from 40 pounds troy weight of 22-carat gold.