Bank of England

Bank in/near City of London, existing between 1734 and now

MAPPING YEAR:1750180018301860190019302020Fullscreen map
Bank · City of London · EC2R ·

The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom.

The Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, London (2004)
Credit: Adrian Pingstone
Sometimes known as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, it was founded in 1694, nationalised in 1946, and gained operational independence to set monetary policy in 1997.

After the ’Glorious Revolution’ of 1688, there were calls for a national public bank to stabilise the nation’s resources. Many schemes were proposed but the successful one was from William Paterson. This envisaged a loan of £1,200,000 to the Government but in return the subscribers would be incorporated as the ’Governor and Company of the Bank of England’. The Royal Charter was sealed on 27 July 1694, and the Bank started its official role which it continues today.

In 1734, the Bank acquired premises in Threadneedle Street. Over the next hundred years it added adjacent properties until the present island site was secured, and Sir John Soane’s massive curtain wall was erected round it.

The Bank’s notes became an accepted currency - people seldom doubted that the promise to pay (which referred to gold coin of the realm) would be honoured.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Bank underwent a large rebuilding project. The Sir John Soane’s buildings within the curtain wall were replaced by a single structure designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence


The Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, London (2004)
Adrian Pingstone


City of London

The City of London constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond its borders.

As the City's boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of Greater London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It holds city status in its own right and is also a separate ceremonial county.

It is widely referred to as 'The City' (often written on maps as City and differentiated from the phrase 'the city of London') or 'the Square Mile' as it is 1.12 square miles in area. These terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's financial services industry, which continues a notable history of being largely based in the City.

The local authority for the City, the City of London Corporation, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority. It also has responsibilities and ownerships beyond the City's boundaries. The Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an office separate from (and much older than) the Mayor of London.

The City is a major business and financial centre, ranking as the world's leading centre of global finance. Throughout the 19th century, the City was the world's primary business centre, and continues to be a major meeting point for businesses.

The City had a resident population of about 7000 in 2011 but over 300,000 people commute to it and work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession forms a major component of the northern and western sides of the City - especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located, of which two—Inner Temple and Middle Temple - fall within the City of London boundary.
Print-friendly version of this page