We are developing a website that is both a free repository of historical UK data and relevant statistical publications, and a hub that links to other data websites. This is a joint endeavour by the Bank of England, ESCoE and ONS. Sourced mostly from the Bank of England, ONS NIESR and economic historians, the idea is to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for UK historical statistics by digitising publications and updating the Bank of England’s Millennium of Data spreadsheet. The website will be curated by the Bank of England for the next few years as we add more publications and update key data spreadsheets.
The UK historical data repository project is intended to provide a valuable and lasting public good that will encourage research into a wide range of areas using time-series data. The provision of historical research datasets will allow an ever-expanding source of historical data to be used with new methodologies and approaches.
Key UK historical statistical publications have been digitised to a high-quality standard (OCR-ready pdfs) so that conversion to machine-readable form can happen more easily in the future. Other research datasets were sourced through contact with economic historians. The website has nine sections, each of which has datasets and a range of supporting digitised publications, such as Annual Blue Books and Bank of England Statistical Abstracts. Topics covered include headline macro data, national accounts dating back as far as 1086, the entire input-output tables through history, financial market variables, and overseas trade since the thirteenth century. A key element of the repository is a link to the Bank of England’s Millennium of Data spreadsheet, which will be updated each year to support this repository with an up-to-date database. Various rightsholders gave permission to republish copyrighted material.
Our online repository brings together the various materials necessary for the reconstruction of historical national accounts, providing a key resource. Since its launch in May 2019, the website has been well-received by academic researchers and the wider data community for both its design and its content.
Project Papers and Presentations
Srinivasan, S. and Thomas, R. (2021) ‘Historical Data UK’ ESCoE Conference on Economic Measurement 2021 Poster Exhibition, 11-13 May 2021.