Very roughly, you need to multiply the Victorian pound by about 65-70x to get the same buying power as the pound of today (c.2000-02).
After the inflation during the Napoleonic Wars, and the subsequent deflation, the buying power of the fluctuated only a little during the nineteenth century. There was a little deflation in the second quarter, followed by some inflation in the third quarter, and some deflation during the fourth quarter of the century.
The multiples to convert to today's pounds are:
|Every 25 years||Every 10 years||1700||125x||1780||97x||1725||120x||1790||88x||1750||124x||1800||49x||1775||92x||1810||51x||1800||49x||1820||61x||1825||63x||1830||69x||1850||77x||1840||64x||1875||64x||1850||77x||1900||69x||1860||64x||1870||65x||1880||67x||1890||72x||1900||69x||1910||66x|
Even rounding these multiples to the nearest 10x will not disrupt the estimate too much at all.
The most authoritative source is the "House of Commons Library" in London, and their Research Report number 99/20 of Feb '99 called Inflation: The Value of Money 1750-1998. There are two ways of accessing this report; both are free.
- (i) telephone the House of Commons Information Service (+44-(0)20-7219-4272), and ask for one.
- (ii) go the pdf copy on Parliament's website and download it, as follows:
- go to "www.parliament.uk"
- select "parliamentary publications"
- select "research publications" (Commons)
- select "research publications 1999"
- select subset numbers "99/1-20"
- select "99/20 Inflation: The Value of the Pound 1750-1998".
- Wages, the Cost of Living, Contemporary Equivalents to Victorian Money
- Wages and Cost of Living in the Victorian Era
- British Currency before 1971
Last modified 4 November 2002