Consol (bond)

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This article is about consolidated securities. For the Roman official, see Consul. For meanings of "console", see Console (disambiguation).

Consols (originally short for consolidated annuities, but can now be taken to mean consolidated stock) is a name given to certain British government bonds (gilts) in the form of perpetual bonds redeemable at the option of the government. They were issued by the Bank of England. The first Consols were issued in 1751.[1]


In 1752 the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister Sir Henry Pelham converted all outstanding issues of redeemable government stock into one bond, Consolidated 3.5% Annuities, in order to reduce the coupon (interest rate) paid on the government debt.

In 1757, the annual interest rate on the stock was reduced to 3%, leaving the stock as Consolidated 3% Annuities. The coupon rate remained at 3% until 1888. In 1888, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Joachim Goschen, converted the Consolidated 3% Annuities, along with Reduced 3% Annuities (issued in 1752) and New 3% Annuities (1855), into a new bond, 2¾% Consolidated Stock, under the National Debt (Conversion) Act 1888 (Goschen's Conversion). Under the Act, the interest rate of the stock was reduced to 2½% in 1903, and the stock given a first redemption date of 5 April 1923, after which point the stock could be redeemed at par value by Act of Parliament.

In 1927 Chancellor Winston Churchill issued a new government stock, 4% Consols, as a partial refinancing of the National War Bonds issued in 1917 during World War One.

Timeline of 2.5% Consolidated Stock[edit]

Year/Date Description
1751 Consols first issued
1752 Consolidated 3.5% Annuities
1752 Reduced 3% Annuities
1757 Consolidated 3% Annuities
1855 New 3% Annuities
1888 National Debt (Conversion) Act 1888 (Goschen's Conversion)
1888 2¾% Consolidated Stock
1903 2½% Consolidated Stock
5 April 1923 first redemption date
1923 to present 2½% Consolidated Stock

Recent developments[edit]

On 31 October 2014 the UK Government announced that it would redeem the 4% Consols in full in early 2015.[2] It did so on 1 February, 2015, and redeemed the 3½% and 3% bonds between March and May of that year. The final 2¾% and 2½% bonds were redeemed on 5 July 2015.[3]

References in literature[edit]

Given their long history, references to Consols can be found in many places, including literature such as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, Howards End by E. M. Forster, Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham and The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ consol
  2. ^ "UK to repay part of perpetual WWI loans". Financial Times. 2014-10-31. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  3. ^ ""About Gilts"". UK Debt Management Office. Retrieved 2015-11-04. 

External links[edit]