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This article studies the changes that took place in the Bank of England’s Restriction-era policies governing private sector lending. The findings show that the Bank was adapting to novel monetary circumstances, created both by the evolution of the English financial system and by the Restriction itself, and that, although the process was far from smooth, the Bank was learning to act as a central bank: during this period the Bank transformed its internal operating procedures to put regulation-based constraints on its private sector lending, established regular reviews of its policies and their effects on the money market, and adopted a distinct crisis-orientated lending policy. In addition to establishing that these core central bank activities developed over this period, the article also shows that for 18 months starting in 1809 the Bank’s policies were destabilizing, and that the Bullion Committee probably played a role in a shift in Bank lending policies that took place in mid-1810. Overall, this study finds that the 1810 crisis was a turning point in the Bank’s understanding of its role in the economy: the Bank directors both acknowledged privately the Bank’s duty to the public, and restructured its discount policies with a view to promoting financial and monetary stability.