This select bibliography is based on one supplied to the Pensions Archive Trust by Chris Lewin.
It has been split into:
Secondary sources on the history of pensions (overviews and analyses of the history of pensions).
Legislation and government reports (a list of significant acts of parliament and government reports relating to state and occupational pensions).
Primary sources (including books outlining early proposals for pension schemes; books reviewing contemporary provision for old age; pensions management textbooks; and annual reports, accounts and histories of some of the earliest occupational pension schemes).
  • Crabbe, R.J.W. and Poyser, C.A. Pension and Widows’ and Orphans’ Funds, Cambridge, 1953.
  • Dearing, Charles L. Industrial pensions, Brookings Institution (USA), 1954.
  • Department of Health. Pensions in Britain 1955-75: a history in five acts, HMSO, 1989.
  • Dunlop, Rev. A. Iain. The Scottish Ministers’ Widows’ Fund 1745-1993, Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, 1992.
  • Gass, Sylvester F. Ecclesiastical Pensions: an historical synopsis and commentary, Washington, 1942.
  • Haberman, Steven and Sibbett, Trevor A. History of Actuarial Science, Pickering, 1995, 10 volumes.
  • Hannah, Leslie. Inventing Retirement: the development of occupational pensions in Britain, CUP, 1986.
  • Harvey, Barbara. Living and Dying in England 1100-1540, Oxford, 1993.
  • Lewin, C.G. Pensions and Insurance before 1800 – a social history, Tuckwell Press, 2003. There is a copy of this item in the PAT Library, please contact the archivist to arrange access.
  • Logan, Sir Douglas. The Birth of a Pension Scheme, 1985. A history of the Universities’ Superannuation Scheme.
  • Newell, Philip. Greenwich Hospital, a Royal Foundation 1692-1983, London, 1984.
  • Orme, Nicholas. ‘Sufferings of the Clergy – Illness and old age in Exeter Diocese 1300-1540’, in Life, Death and the Elderly, edited by Margaret Pelling and Richard M. Smith, 1991.
  • Raphael, Marios. Pensions and Public Servants: A Study of the Origins of the British System, Mouton, 1964 (Publications of the Social Sciences Center Athens III).
  • Rhodes, G. Public sector pensions, 1965.
  • Robertson, G. A History of the Railway Clearing System Superannuation Fund Corporation, privately printed, British Rail, Darlington, 1973. There is a copy of this item in the Institute of Actuaries’ library.
  • Rosenthal, Joel T. Old Age in Late Medieval England, University of Pennsylvania, 1996.
  • Sahar, S. Growing Old in the Middle Ages, Routledge, 1997.
  • Thane, Pat. Old Age in English History, Oxford, 2000. There is a copy of this item in the City of London's Barbican Library (reference 305.26/THA).
  • Tillotson, John H. ‘Pensions, Corrodies and Religious Houses’, Journal of Religious History, volume 8 (1974), pages 127-43.
  • Wilson, Arnold and Mackay, E.S. Old age pensions – an historical and critical study, Oxford, 1941.

Legislation and government reports

  • Aged Deserving Poor. Report of, and minutes of evidence taken by, the Royal Commission on Aged Poor, 1895.
  • Beveridge, Sir William H. Social Insurance and Allied Services – Report, November 1942.
  • Civil Service Superannuation. Report of Royal Commission, 1903.
  • Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, second report, Chest at Chatham, 6th June 1803. Parliamentary Papers 1802-3, volume IV.
  • Continuous Mortality Investigation. Mortality of annuitants 1900-1924, by W.P. Elderton and H.J.P. Oakley, 1924.
  • Elementary School Teachers’ Superannuation Act, 1912.
  • Great Western Railway (Superannuation) Act, 1908.
  • Industrial and Provident Societies Act, 1893-95 and 1913.
  • Kensington Borough Council (Superannuation) Act, 1907.
  • Local Government and other Officers’ Superannuation Act, 1922.
  • London and North Western Railway (Superannuation) Act, 1907.
  • Madras Railway Annuities Act, 1908.
  • Metropolitan Railway (Pension Fund) Act, 1907.
  • Old Age Pensions. A description of the principal schemes and some new suggestions, 1895.
  • Old Age Pensions. Report of the Committee, with minutes of evidence etc.   1898.
  • Old Age Pensions. Report of the Board of Trade on the provision for old age abroad, 1899.
  • Old Age Pensions. Memoranda on the scheme in force in New Zealand and the scheme of insurance against invalidity and old age in force in Germany, 1908.
  • Old Age Pensions. Report of the Departmental Committee, 1919.
  • Police Superannuation. Report of Departmental Committee, 1889.
  • Public Service and Pensions Act 1912.
  • Railway Companies Superannuation Funds. Departmental Committee’s Report and minutes of evidence, 1910-11.
  • School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1918.
  • Seamen. Report of the Committee appointed by the Admiralty to consider the question of granting pensions to widows of seamen etc., 1886.
  • Superannuation Acts, 1909 and 1914.
  • Superannuation and other Trust Funds (Validation) Act, 1927.
  • Trade Union (Provident Funds) Act, 1893.
  • Westminster City Council (Superannuation and Pensions) Act, 1909.
  • Widows’, Orphans’ and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill. Report by the Government Actuary (Sir A.W. Watson) on the financial provisions, 1925.
  • Widows’, Orphans’ and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925.

Primary sources

Proposals for new pension schemes and commentaries on existing provision

  • Ancell, H. A proposal to establish a provident scheme on the principles of mutual life insurance for Civil Servants and their families, 1862.
  • Baily, F. The doctrine of life annuities and assurances, 1810.
  • Booth, C. The Aged Poor in England and Wales, 1894.
  • Brabrook, Sir E.W. Provident Societies and Industrial Welfare, 1898.
  • Brabrook, Sir E.W. Institutions for Thrift, 1905.
  • Clarke, Charles E. Social Insurance in Britain, Cambridge, 1950.
  • Cleghorn, J. A treatise on widows’ schemes, Edinburgh, 1834.
  • Defoe, Daniel. ‘A Pension-Office’ in Essay upon Projects, 1697.
  • Ede, W.M. Two lectures on National Insurance, 1889
  • Finlaison, John. Table for providing relief in sickness and old age, 1833.
  • Hardy, R.P. Old age pensions, 1891.
  • Hayes, Richard. A New Method for Valuing of Annuities upon Lives, second edition, London, 1746. 
  • Henry, J. Letter on report and observations on the mortality of the Government life annuitants 1860, by A.G. Finlaison, 1861.
  • Hewet, A. Widows’ and Pension Funds, 1896 and 1912.
  • Lewis, F.W. State insurance: a social and industrial need, 1909.
  • Linton, M.A. Life annuities, 1917.
  • Loch, C.S. Old age pensions and pauperisms, 1892.
  • Maseres, Francis. A proposal for establishing life-annuities in parishes, 1772.
  • Neild, J.C. Report on old age pensions, charitable relief, and State insurance in England and on the continent of Europe, Sydney, 1898.
  • Newman, T.S. Guide to widows’, orphans and old age pensions, 1929 to 1936.
  • Nottage, Raymond. Pensions: A Plan for the Future, Anglo-German Foundation for the Study of Industrial Society, 1986.
  • Paine, Thomas. Agrarian justice opposed to agrarian law and to agrarian monopoly; being a plan for ameliorating the condition of Man by creating in every nation a national fund, 1797.
  • Pilter, Sir John. A contributory scheme for old age pensions, Paris, 1908.
  • Price, Richard. Observations on Reversionary Payments, fourth edition, London, 1783.
  • Probyn, L. Old age pensions, 1892.
  • Rubinow, I.M. Social insurance, 1913.
  • Smith, Thomas. Everybody’s guide to the Insurance Act, 1912.
  • Sutherland, W. Old age pensions in theory and practice, 1907.
  • Wilkinson, J.F. Pensions and pauperism, 1892.

Commentaries on legislation

  • Barlow, C.A.M. and Gomme, G.L. Notes on the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908.
  • Browne, E. and Wood, H.K. The law of National Insurance, 1912.
  • Carr, A.S.C. et al. National Insurance. To which is appended the Act of 1911 with notes, 1912.
  • Clarke, O. The National Insurance Act, 1911, 1912.
  • Cohen, Percy. The British system of social insurance, 1932.
  • Dalton, J.P. Social insurance, Johannesburg, 1934.
  • Davison, Ronald C. Insurance for all and everything, 1943.  Discussion of the Beveridge Plan.
  • Edwards, H.H. and Murrell, R. Staff pension schemes in theory and practice, 1927.
  • Evans, L.W. The National Insurance Act 1911, 1912.
  • Leach, R.A. Pensions Act 1908, annotated. 1908.
  • Lovat, Fraser J.A. The National Insurance Act 1911 with notes.
  • Spens, W.P. National Insurance Act 1911, 1912Official explanatory memoranda and index.

Sources relating to individual schemes

  • Cadbury Bros. Ltd. Pension, Provident and Benevolent Funds. An account of the schemes, Bournville, 1929.
  • Curnin, J. Documents connected with the Army Retiring Fund, Calcutta, 1835.
  • East India Company. Fund for the benefit of the widows and families of deceased officers and clerks, 1837.
  • Hewet, A. Bank of Scotland Widows’ Fund – quinquennial valuation reports, 1888, 1893.
  • Hewet, A. Actuarial report on the Widows’ Fund of the Church and Professors in the Universities of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1904.
  • Hewet, A. Actuarial report on the septennial investigation of the Writers to the Signet Widows’ Fund, Edinburgh, 1907.
  • Huie, D.R.W. Remarks on the valuation of widows’ funds with tables, Edinburgh, 1868.
  • Northumberland and Durham Miners’ Permanent Relief Fund. Actuarial reports 1886, 1891, 1896, 1901 by T.Y. Strachan and R. Todhunter.
  • Royal Naval Annuitant Society. Rules, Devonport, 1830.
  • Statistics. ‘Statistics of Privately Administered [Pension] Schemes’ in Journal of the Institute of Actuaries 80 (1954), pages 284-288.
  • Stephens, W.W. Old age annuities for men and women on a scheme attractive to the purchasers, 1898.
  • Stock Exchange Clerks’ Provident Fund. Third annual report, 1877.
  • Whittall, W.J.H. Pensions for hospital officers and staff. Report of sub-committee … of King Edward’s Hospital Fund for London, 1919.
  • Widows’ Fund, Scotland. Account of the rise and nature of the Fund, Edinburgh, 1759.

Guidance on management of pensions

  • Lee, E.M. An introduction to pension funds, Institute of Actuaries, 1979.
  • Manly, H.W. On the valuation of staff pension funds, 1908.
  • Robertson, B. and Samuels, H. Pension and superannuation funds, their formation and administration explained, 1928 and 1930.


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Chairman - Jeff Highfield