The Rise and Fall of The City of Money: A Financial History of Edinburgh
Hardback | Nov 2019 | Birlinn | 9781780276236 | 336pp | 234x156mm | RFB | AUD$57.99, NZD$69.99
It started and ended with a financial catastrophe. The Darien disaster of 1700 drove Scotland into union with England, but spawned the institutions which transformed Edinburgh into a global financial centre. The crash of 2008 wrecked the city’s two largest and oldest banks — and its reputation. In the three intervening centuries, Edinburgh became a hothouse of financial innovation, prudent banking, reliable insurance and smart investing. The face of the city changed too as money transformed it from medieval squalor to Georgian elegance.
This is the story, not just of the institutions which were respected worldwide, but of the personalities too, such as the two hard-drinking Presbyterian ministers who founded the first actuarially-based pension fund and others like Sir Walter Scott, who faced financial ruin, but wrote his way out of it.