Dr Bernard Attard

Associate Professor in Economic History

School/Department: History Politics and International Relations, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2798



I am a British-born Maltese Australian with a particular interest in the histories of Australia, empire, imperialism, and the international economy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I completed an undergraduate degree and MA at the University of Melbourne before doing my doctoral work on the early history of the Australian High Commission in London at the University of Oxford. I also have a Graduate Diploma in Economics. I have held positions at the Centre for Metropolitan History in London, the University of New England in Australia, and the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, also in London. I joined the University of Leicester as a teacher and researcher in 1998 and have taught widely on the history of the international economy and British imperialism, global history, and the history of modernity.


My principal research interest is the political economy of British imperialism, particularly with reference to international capital markets and the white settler colonial societies in Australia and New Zealand. Considerable qualitative and quantitative research has been funded by the ESRC and contributed to my current project about British business and political conflict in Australia in the early twentieth century, which has also been funded by the British Academy. My work has also expanded to the history of ideas of ‘empire’ from the mid-nineteenth century.


Selected publications since 2000:

(2023). Informal Empire: The Origin and Significance of a Key Term. Modern Intellectual History, 20(4), 1219-1250. Open Access.

(2016). Imperial central banks? The Bank of England, London & Westminster Bank, and the British Empire before 1914. In O. Feiertag & M. Margairaz (Eds.), Les banques centrales et l'etat-nation (pp. 189-212). Paris: Presses de Science Po

(2013). The London Stock Exchange and the Colonial Market: The City, Internationalisation and Power. In C. Dejung & N. P. Petersson (Eds.), The Foundations of Worldwide Economic Integration: Powers, Institutions, and Global Markets, 1850-1930 (pp. 89-111). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

(2013). Wakefieldian investment and the birth of new societies, c. 1830 to 1930. In C. Lloyd, J. Metzer & R. Sutch (Eds.), Settler Economies in World History (pp. 371-402). Leiden: Brill.

(2013). Bridgeheads, 'Colonial Places' and the Queensland Financial Crisis of 1866. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 41(1), 11-36. 

(2012). Making the colonial state: development, debt and warfare in New Zealand, 1853-76. Australian Economic History Review, 52(2), 101-27. 

(2007). From Free-trade Imperialism to Structural Power: New Zealand and the Capital Market, 1856-68. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 35(4), 505-527. 

(2007). New Estimates of Australian Public Debt and Capital Raised in London, 1849-1914'. Australian Economic History Review, 47(2), 155-177. 

(2004). Moral Suasion, Empire Borrowers and the New Issue Market during the 1920s. In R. C. Michie & P. Williamson (Eds.), The British Government and the City of London in the Twentieth Century (pp. 195-214). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

(2000). Making a Market: The Jobbers of the London Stock Exchange, 1800-1986. Financial History Review. 7(1), 5-24

(2000). Between Empire and Nation: Australia's External Relations 1901-39. C. Bridge & B. P. Attard (Eds.), Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing.


I am happy to supervise research students across all my areas of interest and expertise including the histories of imperialism the international economy the London capital market Australia and the global middle class.


I convene, or have recently convened (sometimes with a colleague), the following modules:

  • HS1000 Making History
  • HS1002 The Shock of the Modern 
  • HS2329 A World Connected: Welfare, Economy and Government since 1945
  • HS3614 Britain's Imperial Economy: Power, Wealth and Colonialism, 1830-1914 

I have also contributed as a lecturer and tutor to:

  • HS1012 Global History

Finally, I supervise students working on dissertations for HS3510.

Press and media

Contemporary Australia
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