A new study of chambers of commerce by Cambridge University’s Prof. Bob Bennett launched today examines the history of chambers of commerce. Local Business Voice: the History of Chambers of Commerce in Britain, Ireland and Revolutionary America, 1760-2011 (published by Oxford University Press, October 2011) aims to understand the politics, economics and sociology of the membership and services of chambers of commerce from their establishment in the 1770s up to the present.

The book traces the earliest origins of chambers of commerce, demonstrates how they developed in every major city, and examines their revival to the present as providers of business services and partners with government in economic development and workforce training. This book finds common origins of chambers of commerce in protest, leading to a reform agenda, and charts their spread from large cities, down to reach all towns and communities.

Commenting on the publication of the book, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Chambers of commerce have played an important part in shaping the economy of cities and towns across the world, and we welcome the publication of this study. It highlights some of the key challenges of the modern chamber system, with helpful suggestions based on a thorough analysis of chamber history.'

'Professor Bennett's insights into the way chambers of commerce work with governments are particularly apt. It also highlights the way chambers have risen to the challenge of delivering local growth, working on behalf of their members. The British Chambers of Commerce, and similar networks across the globe have an important role to play in ensuring businesses are able to grow, and help local and national economies recover and thrive.”


Notes to editors:

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people.

Media contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: l.morrison@britishchambers.org.uk