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 yearsEvery 10 years
1700 125x       1780 97x
1725 120x1790 88x
1750 124x1800 49x
1775 92x1810 51x
1800 49x 1820 61x
1825 63x1830 69x
1850 77x1840 64x
1875 64x 1850 77x
1900 69x 1860 64x
  1870 65x
  1880 67x
  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.

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Last modified 4 November 2002