London today is the financial centre of the world economy, and the Bank of England, needless to say, has played a crucial role in that. Since its foundation over three hundred years ago, the Bank of England has been one of the world’s most influential institutions, and today, within the Bank itself, this free museum allows you to delve into centuries of history through exhibitions and displays.
The Bank of England was founded with the drawing up of the Royal Charter in 1694. At the time, public finances were weak after revolution had brought William and Mary to power, and it was decided an institution needed to be established to regulate the government’s finances. Over the following centuries, the Bank oversaw developments which were prototypes for the future global financial system: the government began to borrow money from the bank, leading to the establishment of the National Debt; the Bank began to serve other banks; and, in 1931, the United Kingdom unpinned its economy from the Gold Standard.
With a genuine commitment to education, students and adults alike will love the informative films explaining the roles which the Bank plays in the economy, while schoolkids can learn about the history and role of money from the ‘Pounds and Pence’ presentation. There are also hands-on presentations, great for younger kids, which allow you to handle new sheets of banknotes worth thousands of pounds; learn how to identify a genuine banknote; and learn more about gold and the role it plays in the financial system. You and your family will enjoy easy access to the Bank of England’s central location from one of our Luxury Hotels London, which promise the very best in comfort and convenience during your stay.
There is much more to learn about at the Bank of England Museum than just the history of the British financial system, however. The museum covers 1,000 square meters, and the displays are accordingly diverse: they include a reconstruction of an 18th century office; displays of historical coins and notes; and a genuine bar of gold, which can be handled. Literary buffs will also be interested to see the dramatic resignation letter of Kenneth Grahame, writer of the children’s classic Wind in the Willows, who left his senior post at the Bank just months before the book was published.
The Bank of England is one of the most iconic buildings in London, and its beautiful neoclassical architecture is one of the main reasons to visit. Despite appearances, the current building only dates to 1925, a masterpiece courtesy of Sir Herbert Baker, which replaced the old building, begun by the great Sir John Soane in 1788. If anything, the new bank is even more spectacular than the old, towering seven storeys above ground and three below, but remains true to its style, with beautiful classical pillars, and is on the very same site off historic Threadneedle Street.