The Journal of Economic History


The Great Depression in Britain, 1873–1896: a Reappraisal*

A. E. Mussona1

a1 University of Manchester

It is nearly a quarter century since H. L. Beales produced his notable article on “The Great Depression.” Since then a great deal of work has been done on that period, especially by economists and statisticians, so that it is now possible to make a fuller assessment of the changes in Britain's economic position during those years. Most of this work has been in the form of specialized articles and books covering longer periods, on such subjects as national income, investment, or terms of trade, and there appears to be a need for some attempt at synthesis, especially as the various interpretations put forward are not always in agreement and are sometimes contradictory. It would be impossible, of course, in a mere article, to settle all the theoretical problems suggested by the facts or to resolve all the divergencies of opinion, but it is worth while to draw the evidence and opinions together in an effort to get a general picture.

* I wish to express my appreciation of valuable criticisms and suggestions by H. G. Johnson, D. C. Corner, D. J. Coppock, and T. W. Fletcher, all of Manchester University. Responsibility for the views expressed herein, however, is entirely my own.