I wish to thank the President and Fellows of the British Academy for the award of a research readership for 1997–9 which allowed me to commence the research for this book. During this period I enjoyed the benefits of a visiting fellowship at All Soul’s College, Oxford, and an academic visitorship at Nuffield College, Oxford, and I wish to thank the Wardens and Fellows of both colleges for their generosity. Progress on the book then slowed as academic administration, first as head of the department of economic history, and then as deputy director of the London School of Economics, consumed the lion’s share of my time. I am hugely indebted to my former colleagues and graduate students at the LSE who, over many years, have helped me explore the origins of corporate capitalism in Victorian Britain. I also wish to acknowledge the assistance of the many librarians – the unsung heroes of histor- ical research – whose services I have drawn on throughout this project, particularly at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the British Library, the LSE library and, latterly, at La Trobe University library. My move to the Vice-Chancellorship of La Trobe University in 2007 came close to scuttling this project – running an academic institution allows little space for engagement in academic activity. I could not have found the energy to finish this work without the encouragement, love and support of my wife, Susannah. It is to her, and to our two beautiful children, that I dedicate this book.