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image SM (14) 2/3b/5

Reference number

SM (14) 2/3b/5


Working drawing for the foundations, February 1798


14 Elevation


bar scale


Foundation of New Offices, Level of Cellar Floor, Level of Cellar Floor, York Ledger, The First Course of Bricks layd on / Loam, Lay.d on Loam, Lady.d on Loam, Wood Tye, Planking, Loam (nine times), wood Rail (twice), Pile (twice), Rubish (three times) (verso) Section of / Footings to (inscription erased)

Signed and dated

  • Bank 7th Feby 1798


Soane office


Drawing 14 shows a pier in the foundations erected for the north-east extension. The marshy ground required deep piled foundations. Taylor's east wing buildings rested on foundations fourteen feet below floor level, consisting of inverted brick arches between the columns. In drawing 14, two piles support a tapered brick pier.

The foundations of the bank rested on earlier debris and Roman artefacts were frequently found during excavations. Excavations for the first bank builldings in March 1732 revealed a large Roman wall with statue of a bust beneath one of its arches. The artefacts, reported the Society of Antiquaries, were 'carefully covered up again.' John Soane's excavations revealed three mosaic floors. See SM 59/1/32 for a coloured etching of the Roman mosaic discovered under the South West angle, drawn by Thomas Fisher, 1806.

Literature: H. Rooksby Steele and F.R. Yerbury, The Old Bank of England, London, 1930, p. 8; J.A. Giuseppi, 'Roman Relics', Lady Day, 1936, p. 282.



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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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