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image Image 1 for SM (12) 9/4/19 (13) 2/2/5 (14) 2/2/4
image Image 2 for SM (12) 9/4/19 (13) 2/2/5 (14) 2/2/4
image Image 3 for SM (12) 9/4/19 (13) 2/2/5 (14) 2/2/4
  • image Image 1 for SM (12) 9/4/19 (13) 2/2/5 (14) 2/2/4
  • image Image 2 for SM (12) 9/4/19 (13) 2/2/5 (14) 2/2/4
  • image Image 3 for SM (12) 9/4/19 (13) 2/2/5 (14) 2/2/4

Reference number

SM (12) 9/4/19 (13) 2/2/5 (14) 2/2/4

Purpose

Record drawings of designs for the Printing Office Court, two dated March 1807 (3)

Aspect

12 The Plan of the Principal Story 13 The Plan of the Basement Story 14 Plan of part of the Basement storey &c

Scale

(12-14) bar scale

Inscribed

12 as above, The Bank of England, Court, Accountant General, Passage (three times), Vestibule, 28 ft by 25 ft, 80':0" by 25':0", Court (twice), Upper part of Barrack / Room, Court (twice) 13 as above, The Bank of England, Court (four times), Passage, (pencil) Engine 14 as above, The Bank of England, equal (twice)

Signed and dated

(12) Lincolns Inn Fields March 11th 1807 (13) Lincolns Inn Fields. March 11th 1807

Hand

Soane office

Watermark

(12-13) Edmeads & Pine 1801

Notes

A design for the Printing Office Court was approved in January 1807. Another design was approved in October 1807. The multi-storey buildings surrounding the Printing Office Court were devoted to the process of printing bank notes, from the importing of paper to the drying of banknotes. The narrow offices on the west side of the court housed the thirty printing presses. Adjacent to the offices were the Engravers Rooms. On the opposite side of the Court stood clerical offices and storage.

The printing of bank notes had been contracted out to a London printer until 1791 when the process was moved onto the Bank's premises, setting up in an office over the Barracks (1:7). Despite working on site, the printer operated independently and under the only occassional supervision of a Bank clerk. The advent of 1 and 2 banknotes in 1797 greatly increased the printers' duties, from three employees in 1792 to twenty in 1800, and with eighteen presses in use (Mackenzie, p.40). The charcoal fumes heating the copper plates were causing illness within the confined rooms and the Bank's chief printer, Garnet Terry, repeatedly requested more space (Mackenzie, p.44). In March 1808 the new Printing Offices were finally finished. The handpresses had been replaced by machines, a faster and healthier alternative, and were housed in long rooms with windows on either side.

Literature

M. Acres, The Bank of England from within, 1931, pp. 322-345; A.D. Mackenzie, The Bank of England note: a history of its printing, 1953.

Level

Drawing

Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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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.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).