UK inflation rate in 1879: -4.21%

UK Inflation Calculator


UK Inflation Rate, 1879-2018 (£1)

The composite price index (CPI) in 1879 was 9.1. the Office for National Statistics uses this CPI value to track inflation on a monthly basis.

According to the Office for National Statistics composite price index, the pound experienced an average inflation rate of 3.51% per year. Prices in 2018 are 11950.5% higher than prices in 1879.

In other words, £1 in the year 1879 is equivalent in purchasing power to £120.50 in 2018, a difference of £119.50 over 139 years.

The current inflation rate in 2018 is 3.10%1. If this number holds, £1 today will be equivalent to £1.03 next year.

Inflation from 1879 to 2018
Cumulative price change 11950.46%
Average inflation rate 3.51%
Price difference (£1 base) £119.50
CPI in 1879 9.1
CPI in 2018 1096.59148

UK inflation chart from 1988 to 2017. Based on the UK Consumer Price Index.

How to calculate the inflation rate for £1 since 1879

Start with the inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2018 / CPI in 1879 * 1879 GBP value = 2018 GBP value

Then plug in historical CPI values. The UK CPI was 9.1 in the year 1879 and 1096.59148 in 2018:

1096.59148 / 9.1 * £1 = £120.50

£1 in 1879 has the same "purchasing power" as £120.50 in 2018.

News headlines from 1879

Politics and news often influence economic performance. Here's what was happening at the time:

  • British garrison of 150 holds off Yulu warriors 3,000 to 4,000 strong in the Battle of Rorke's Drift. Defenders were awarded 11 Victoria Crosses and other decorations
  • Peru declares war on Bolivia signalling the start of the Pacific War.
  • Thomas Elkins, an African American inventor, patents refrigerating apparatus.

Inflation Data Source

Raw data for these calculations comes from the composite price index published by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). A composite index is created by combining price data from several different published sources, both official and unofficial. The Consumer Price Index, normally used to compute inflation, has only been tracked since 1988. All inflation calculations after 1988 use the Office for National Statistics' Consumer Price Index, except for 2017, which is based on The Bank of England's forecast.

You may use the following MLA citation for this page: “Inflation Rate in 1879 | UK Inflation Calculator.” FinanceRef Inflation Calculator, Alioth Finance, 23 Apr. 2018,

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