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Title: The Royal Mint Refinery : a business adapting to change, 1919-1968
Author: Blagg, Michele
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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The thesis charts the business history of the Royal Mint Refinery (RMR), a bullion refinery operated by the London merchant bank, N M Rothschild & Sons, between 1852 and 1968. Through analysis of business records key events that changed the trading direction of the operation are identified: increased international competition, innovations and technological breakthroughs, diversification and expansion into light engineering, evolving administrative systems and management styles, changes in employer and worker relations, and the sale of the enterprise- set against a backdrop of international financial crises, two world wars, decolonisation and Britain’s changed relationship to Empire gold. Gold is a commodity like no other; in the twentieth century gold held a unique position at the heart of international relations and financial flows in monetary systems around the world. Rothschild assumed an administrative monopoly of the London gold market; as agents to the Bank of England, Chair of the London Gold Fixing and the Bank’s varied business portfolio, which included a myriad of international investments. Ownership of RMR complemented and reinforced this position. Rothschild, through its connection to the refinery, gained access to and control over Empire gold, which in 1914 accounted for 70 per cent. of world output; the majority of which was shipped to London and treated at the Rothschild refinery. The ‘RMR’ brand was internationally recognised and accepted by Central Banks and private investors as good delivery. The profitability of the operation reflected the strong global demand for gold by jewellers, industrial sectors and investors; gold was considered a safe haven especially in times of economic crises or war. Post-1945 London’s decline as a financial centre affected the future of RMR and the operation diverted into light engineering. The thesis links past with present; it charts the rise and fall of the operation and Rothschild’s pursuit of profitability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available