The Value of Money

in 18th and early 19th Century Britain

 
   

The following information is taken from a House of Commons Library research report, #99-20. They used several retail and consumable price indexes to arrive at their values. The one we are interested in for the Georgian period was mostly from a source compiled by E H Phelps-Brown and Sheila Hopkins. To compare purchasing power, between 2 years, take the index for one year, say 592.3, and divide it by the index value for the year you are interested in, perhaps 1811 of 13.8, getting the value 42.92. Thus an income of £1,000 in 1811 would be the equivalent to £42,920 in 1998. The same calculations of course also apply to expenses.

Please realize that this is an overall index, and that for example the price of cheese might fluctuate more widely or counter to the index. It might be cheaper compared to other consumables in a year of increased supply, or more expensive, comparably, in a drought year.

Price Index 1750 to 1850
YearPrice index 1974=100Value of this years pound, in 1974 p.
When 1974 £1= 100 pence
Percentage change in prices compared to the year before
17505.01,997-3.1%
17514.92,053-2.7%
17525.11,9614.7%
17535.02,014-2.7%
17545.21,9165.1%
17554.92,039-6.0%
17565.11,9574.2%
17576.21,60721.8%
17586.21,612-0.3%
17595.71,751-7.9%
17605.51,832-4.5%
17615.21,919-4.5%
17625.41,8473.9%
17635.61,7992.7%
17646.11,6538.9%
17656.31,5973.5%
17666.31,5771.2%
17676.71,4925.8%
17686.61,509-1.1%
17696.11,643-8.2%
17706.11,650-0.4%
17716.61,5208.5%
17727.31,37310.7%
17737.31,378-0.3%
17747.31,3650.9%
17756.91,446-5.6%
17766.81,478-2.2%
17776.71,484-0.4%
17787.01,4264.0%
17796.41,559-8.5%
17806.21,614-3.4%
17816.51,5504.1%
17826.61,5182.1%
17837.41,35612.0%
17847.41,3480.6%
17857.11,404-4.0%
17867.11,4040.0%
17877.11,413-0.6%
17887.41,3594.0%
17897.31,377-1.3%
17907.41,3531.8%
17917.41,354-0.1%
17927.51,3341.5%
17937.71,2982.8%
17948.31,2057.7%
17959.31,08011.6%
17969.91,0156.4%
17978.91,128-10.0%
17988.71,153-2.2%
17999.71,02612.3%
180013.375236.5%
180114.967311.7%
180211.4874-23.0%
180310.8929-5.9%
180411.19003.2%
180512.977516.2%
180612.3810-4.4%
180712.1826-1.9%
180812.57983.4%
180913.77289.7%
181014.27063.2%
181113.8726-2.9%
181215.664213.2%
181316.06262.5%
181413.9718-12.7%
181512.5803-10.7%
181611.4877-8.4%
181713.077213.5%
181813.07700.3%
181912.7790-2.5%
182011.5871-9.3%
182110.1990-12.0%
18228.71,145-13.5%
18239.31,0726.8%
182410.19888.6%
182511.984217.4%
182611.2891-5.5%
182710.5953-6.5%
182810.2981-2.9%
182910.1991-1.0%
18309.71,028-3.6%
183110.79359.9%
18329.91,010-7.4%
18339.31,075-6.1%
18348.61,165-7.8%
18358.71,1461.7%
18369.71,03311.0%
18379.91,0082.5%
183810.01,0010.7%
183910.79337.3%
184010.99161.8%
184110.7938-2.3%
18429.91,015-7.6%
18438.71,144-11.3%
18448.71,145-0.1%
18459.21,0924.9%
18469.51,0504.0%
184710.793712.0%
18489.41,066-12.1%
18498.81,138-6.3%
18508.21,216-6.4%
18518.01,254-3.0%
18528.01,2540.0%
1998592.317 

Taxes in 18th Century England.
CostTax amounts
3d.duty /gallon on gin at mid-18th century
5s.stamp tax on marriage licenses and certificates.
10s.tax on gold watches(one exempt per household) from July/1797-March/1798
18s.2d.tax on a shopkeeper with 7 windows, and an annual rent of £6 1797
£1duty /gallon of gin sales 1736-1743
1 guineaannual tax, per male servant; introduced 1777.
£1 5s.average Englishman's tax bill at time of American Revolution
£4average tax assesment for York shopkeeper, 1797

annual license fee for a hawker on foot prior to 1785, and after 1789

£8annual license fee for a hawker with 1 horse prior to 1785, and after 1789
£12 14s.tax on a shopkeeper with 23 windows, annual rent of £50, a dog, and a servant in 1797

 
Cost...of living, food and drinkyears
1d.bun at Chelsea Bun House, London; 1711
1.25d.One pound of barley flour; 1787
1.75d.One pound of wheat flour; 1787
3d.-3.5d.One quart of beer 
3.5d.One pound of treacle(molasses); 1795-6
4d.One pound of butchers meat- veal, pork, beef, or lamb; or two mackeral in London 
4.5d.One pound of wheat flour; 1795
6d.One pound tobacco1795
7d.One pound of sugar; 1795-6
8d.one pound of bacon;1795-6
10d.one pound of butter;1780s-1790s
1s.a "cream cheese" in York; 1782
1s.6d.A chicken in London;1755
2s.3d.A chicken in London;1785
2s.4d.Six pounds of cheese at a Didsbury grocer's 
2s.6d.One pound of "fine French fruit " in London;1790
4s.One pound of low-quality tea; late 1780s-early 1790s
4s.6d.One pound of brand name cocoa; 1786-7
12s.approx. price of one pound of high-quality tea; early 1790s
15s.average monthly grocers bill for Didsbury labourer; 1780s
£59 13s.food expenditure for household of Rev. Laurie of Newburn, Fifeshire1795


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