Soane's London

The Bank Of England

Collections | Soane's London | The Bank Of England

Soane was Surveyor to the Bank of England from 1788 to 1833. He rebuilt nearly every part of the building and more than doubled its area. The complex arrangement of corridors, courts, top-lit banking halls, storage and offices lay concealed behind the fortified screen wall.

The instability in Europe after the French Revolution, Britain's continuing wars with France, and the palpable threat of riots on London's streets meant the Bank needed to be both secure and fireproof. Wars also increased business and led to expansion, as the Bank managed the increasing National Debt. In the middle of Soane's career, nearly 1000 clerks were employed at the Bank. Some even had residences on site.

A block of offices were dedicated to manufacturing banknotes. Long and circuitous corridors connected the many administrative offices and directors' rooms. The large banking halls were accessible to the public, who came to trade stocks and collect dividends.

Today, only the curtain wall remains of Soane's 45 year-long creation. The interior was demolished in the 1920s and replaced with a building by Herbert Baker.

Bank Of England Archives

Preliminary designs for Tivoli Corner

Preliminary designs for Tivoli Corner

John Soane
16 Sept.1804
Brown pen on paper
1/6/1 (Bank drawing 20 in 3:5)

The inscription notes that Soane made this drawing during a brief holiday in Margate in September 1804. Mrs Soane spent her summer holidays in Margate and Soane would usually go down to see her for a few days.

The rough sketch shows Soane's new concept for the Tivoli Corner, the north-west corner of the Bank. Part of Tivoli Corner still exists today at the junction of Lothbury and Prince's Street, although the completed corner did not follow this original design.