Bank of England

Bank of England .—This large establishment is situated north of the Royal Exchange; the narrow thoroughfare between being Threadneedle Street , in which is the principal front.  This is unquestionably the greatest bank in the world.  The present structure was mostly the work of Sir John Soane, at various periods between 1788 and 1829.  About 1,000 clerks, messengers, &c., are employed here, at salaries varying from £50 to £1,200 per annum.  The buildings of the Bank are low, but remarkable in appearance.  In the centre is the principal entrance, which conducts to an inner open court, and thence to the main building.  The Dividend and Transfer Offices, with which fund-holders are most concerned, lie in the eastern part of the building.  Thus far the place is freely open to visitors.  The whole buildings and courts include an area of about eight acres.  The teller's room shews a scene of great activity—clerks counting and weighing gold and silver, porters going to and fro, and crowds of tradesmen and others negotiating business at the counters.  The other and more private parts of the Bank can be seen only by an order from a director.  The most interesting departments are the bullion-office, in a vaulted chamber beneath—where there commonly are some 14 to 17 millions in bullion, as a reserve—entering from one of the many open courts; the treasury; the apartments in which the notes of the Bank are printed; and the weighing-office, where coin-balances of exquisite construction are used.  In the printing department there is a large steam-engine, which moves printing-machines, plate-presses, and other mechanism—the whole being in beautiful order, and forming a very interesting sight.  The Bank is guarded at night by its own watchmen, and a detachment of Foot Guards.