THE BANK OF ENGLAND, THE COMPANY OF COPPER MINERS, AND THE CWMAVON WORKS, 1847-52* IN a short paper on 'The Banker as Entrepreneur', Professor Rondo Cameron discusses the part played by bankers 'as entrepreneurs of banking proper' and also 'as industrial (or commercial or other) entrepreneurs'.1 The author refers to cases of 'the intermixture of banking and other entrepreneurial functions', but none of the instances he cites was more spectacular than the entanglement of the Bank of England in the affairs of the Governor and Company of Copper Miners in England. This caused the Bank in 1848 to take over and operate the large metal and coal works at Cwmavon (Cwmafan), north of Port Talbot. The present paper, which deals with this episode, could in fact have been entitled 'How the Bank of England became an industrial entrepreneur'. The story of the events which involved the Bank increasingly in the Cwmavon enterprises is of interest for a number of reasons. In the first place, it illustrates the way in which financial difficulties spread within Great Britain in the mid-nineteenth century-and sometimes did so partly as a result of conditions overseas. Secondly, its entanglement at Cwmavon was an episode of sufficient importance in the history of the Bank to deserve a couple of paragraphs in the official study by the late Sir John Clapham. 2 The Bank's involvement in the affairs of the Company of Copper Miners was not unconnected with the financial interests and position of certain members of the Court of the Bank, and particularly with the activities and discomfiture of Abel Lewes Gower of Castle Mael- gwyn, Pembrokeshire. The story, in fact, raises issues relating to the role of part-time directors of the Bank of England--questions similar to those posed over a century later, following allegations of a leakage in September 1957 of advance information about a change in Bank Rate. (It may be noted that, for the guidance of the agent of the Bank of England's branch bank at Bristol in 1847, a letter from Threadneedle Street gave the names of some London banking and mercantile firms which were 'deemed Securities of the first class', and Cordial thanks are due to the Governor and Company of the Bank of England for allowing the Bank's manuscript records noted below to be used. 1 Rondo Cameron. 'The Banker as Entrepreneur', Explorations in Entrepreneurial History. Second Series. I (1963-64). 50-55. Sir John Clapham. The Bank of England (1944). 11, 206-7.