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The central bank of the UK at the heart of London's financial district

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The Bank of England is the central bank of the UK and is at the heart of London’s financial district. The bank earned the nickname "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street", following a cartoon in 1797 by Britain’s first political cartoonist James Gilray, depicting the bank as an old lady sitting on a chest full of gold, wearing a dress made from £1 notes and preventing the Prime Minister from getting at the gold!

"The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street"
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Did You Know?

The Bank has had a monopoly on the issue of banknotes in England and Wales since the early 20th century - it prints 5 million bank notes daily and destroys a similar amount.
The Bank was founded in 1694 to provide King William III with much needed funds to finance a war with the French. In return for a loan of £1.2M the bank was granted with a royal charter to print notes and take deposits. This made the Bank of England the world’s first privately owned national bank. As well as providing banking services to the nation, the Bank of England manages the UK's foreign exchange and gold reserves.

Figures and detail on the front facade
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The building you see before you dates back to 1734 and over the years, various additions and extensions have grown the building to cover a substantial area. For security reasons, the building is an island and it has more space below ground than it does above.

Figure at the top of the building
Photo TourNorfolk
The Bank of England Museum tells the story of the bank including how it controlled Britain’s finance during various wars, how it became one of the first institutions to employ women and how the bank controls official interest rates.

Inside the Bank of England Museum - many of the displays are interactive and fun for children
Photo Bank of England Museum

Figures inside the museum, tell the Bank of England story
Photo Bank of England Museum

Get to touch a bar of Gold in the museum!
Photo Bank of England Museum
Visitor Information
The Bank of England Museum tells the story of the bank and is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm. Entry is FREE. Tel: 020 7601 5545

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