In our last trip to London, my husband and I went to visit the Bank of England. The bank is not open to public as it’s an working institution, with a few exceptions each year, but there is a small museum with lots of interesting things to see. They recommend 1 hour for the visit, but I would suggest allowing yourself a little more time if you plan to visit it. If you are looking at the films and you pay attention to the exhibits, it will take longer to see everything.
Bank of England was founded by a Scotsman in 1694. One year later, an Englishman founded the Bank of Scotland, one of the fun facts I saw in the museum.
When the Bank of England was founded in 1694, it was in a different building, not far from the current location. The first building in Threadneedle Street was completed in 1734 and it was the first purpose-building bank in the world. After 30 years additional space was required and work for extension started at the bank. Single storey wings were added. In 1788 Sir John Soane become the Bank of England’s architect and he did extensive works.
During the First World War more space was needed and the buildings Soane built were demolished and replaced by multi-storey buildings.
In the internal garden there are four mulberry trees as reminders of the origin of paper money. Their bark was used for the first paper money made in China in the 10th century.
The emblem of the bank is Britannia looking on a bank of money and it was chosen on 30th July 1694. Every printed note has the image of Britannia.
The pound sterling is the oldest currency in the world. It was used from Anglo-Saxon times when 240 silver pennies made up a pound of silver. The name comes from a Latin phrase “libra pondo” that means pound weight and the sign is an ornate L: £. Sterling comes from an Germanic word and it means purity.
I had no idea, but £1 was made up of 240 pennies until the 1971. 12 pennies made up one shilling; five shillings made up a crown and four crowns a pound. There were also three penny bits coins and sixpence.
While I think it was a nightmare for accounting, shopping and tourists, it would have been nice to keep the shillings and crowns.
This was my visit to the Bank of England museum. I enjoyed it very much, it was interesting to learn about its history. Have you been to the Bank of England museum or it’s something you would like to do?