Managing British Colonial and Post-Colonial Development

Managing British Colonial and Post-Colonial Development

The Crown Agents, 1914-1974

David Sunderland


Boydell Press



A survey of the Crown Agents during a turbulent and eventful period.
Britain's Crown Agents' Office is a unique development agency. Until the early 1960s, its clients were colonial governments, and, thereafter, the administrations of dependencies and newly independent countries. As well as purchasing a large proportion of its customers' imports, it provided them with finance and managed their investments. It was thus one of the largest buyers of goods in the UK, and, after, the Bank of England, the country's biggest financial institution.
This book, the sequel to the author's Managing the British Empire: The Crown Agents, 1833 -1914 (Boydell, 2004), examines the Agents' various development roles, including the disastrous venture into secondary banking in 1967 which collapsed in 1974, then the largest bankruptcy in British financial history. The book contributes to a number of current debates in development studies, adds to our understanding of the London financial market and the competitiveness of British industry, and shows how present day aid agencies can learn much from the arrangements of the past.

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June 2007
13 line illustrations
308 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843833017
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

The Public Issue of Loans
Other Sources of Finance
The Management of Colonial Investment Funds
The Management of the Joint Colonial Fund and the Joint Miscellaneous Fund
The Cost of Supplies
Procurement from the early 1960s and Delivery Delays
Miscellaneous Roles
The Move into Secondary Banking
The Collapse of the Secondary Banking Venture


Deals with some of the most important [.] questions of British imperial history: the costs and benefits of British colonialism for the colonies and for the domestic British economy. [.] A fine study. INTERNATIONAL HISTORY REVIEW
With this major work, we are now better placed to appreciate the complexities of Britain's relations with its overseas territories, and if the vital, yet little known, years after independence. THE OVERSEAS PENSIONER
In the end, specialists of British economic history will certainly find Sunderland's work both refreshing and informative, while students of British imperial history or British history in general will certainly have something to learn from this work. All said and done, Managing British Colonial and Post-Colonial Development: The Crown Agents, 1914-1974_ stands out as an example of how economic history should be written--detailed and yet accessible to those interested and yet non-specialists in the field. Hopefully, these two works will lay a foundation upon which further work in this area can be built. H-NET BOOK REVIEW
Contributes to our understanding of imperial history. All that being said, this study of the Crown Agents is a positive contribution that fills a gap in the existing literature on the British Empire. Those interested in imperial and colonial studies, not to mention British economic and financial history, will benefit from Sunderland's impressive scholarship. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES
An eye-opening investigation of a unique early hybrid of the financial and public sectors that, by Sunderland's measure, was the main force in the unfolding of colonial development. ...All this is explained with meticulous care and nuance and a wealth of difficult archival materials. This is unquestionably sound scholarship. TWENTIETH CENTURY BRITISH HISTORY
An important contribution to our understanding of colonial policy. ASIAN AFFAIRS

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