- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
- Main Year: 0
Robert Taylor expanded the Bank in all directions, facing his single-storey wings with an Italianate arcade of columns and niches. Taylor built commercial offices across Threadneedle Street (1764-8), single-storey wings to the east (1765-67) and west (1780-88) and a fire-proof library to the north (1770). The east wing contained a Rotunda (Brokers' Exchange) and four transfer halls, for the government stock business associated with the National Debt. To the west was a suite of offices and committee rooms for the directors and more offices for public transactions. The vast expansions coincided with a greatly transformed institution within. The institution itself was profoundly changed by 1788. Though still a private company, it became an entity of national importance. Through the Bank, and a trusting public who speculated and invested, the government was able to borrow huge sums from the Bank to manage its National Debt.
Following Taylor's death in September, Soane was appointed Surveyor in October 1788. He quickly set to work carrying out repairs and alterations to the existing building. Taylor's last years at the Bank were largely inactive and Soane found much to be done. Soane came before the directors in May 1789 with a long list of necessary repairs such as replacing windows, lamps and ironwork. He also carried out building works such as altering rooms to accommodate new uses. He rebuilt roofs and the wall on Princes Street. The drawings from this period are far from complete. Designs drawings for the offices built behind the Princes Street wall, for example, do not exist. In other cases, drawings may exist but are as yet unidentified. In October 1790 Soane found significant damage in the roof of the Bank Stock Office. The reconstruction of this building marked Soane's first major work at the Bank of England.
See SM 58/2/2 for an engraved view of the Bank from Threadneedle Street, published June 1800 by Laurie & Whittle.
Literature:A.T. Bolton, The Works of Sir John Soane, 1924, pp. 28-68; W. Marston Acres, The Bank of England from within, 1931, pp. 168-174; M. Binney, Sir Robert Taylor: from Rococco to Neo-Classicism, 1984, pp. 72-76; D. Abramson, Money's architecture: the building of the Bank of England, 1731-1833, Doctoral thesis for the Department of Fine Arts, Harvard University, 1993. pp. 251-253, 320-336
Madeleine Helmer, 2010
Contents of 1788-1793 Initial assessment of existing buildings and minor alterations (73)
- Existing building, 1731-34 and 1764-88 (8)
- Bank buildings by Sir Robert Taylor, 1766 and 1802 (10)
- Entrance building, September 1789 (8)
- Princes Street screen wall and offices, 1790-91 (9)
- Rotunda vestibule, 1791 (18)
- Dividend Pay Office, 1792 (4)
- Barracks and Bank Note Printing Office, 1791 and 1796 (2)
- Minor alterations: Armoury, stoves, Governor's Room and Garden Court, 1788-93 (8)
- Illuminations for the occasion of George III's recovery from illness, 1789, and jubilee, 1809 (7)