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Library, November 1797 -1799 (14)

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The library was a fireproof building for the storage of cancelled Bank Notes and old books. Soane's library was a copy of that built by Robert Taylor in 1770 and he even reused much of the original library's materials. The library was only rebuilt so as to accommodate the north-east extension.

The directors of the Bank were unsupportive of Soane's proposal to move the library in 1797. Thomas Dea, a Bank director who had been temporarily appointed to the Committee of Building, was especially vocal in his disapproval. Soane's entry into his diary in 21 September 1797 recalls that Dea eventually agreed that there was no better alternative.

Soane's library was erected in the angle between Lothbury Street and Bartholomew Lane. As with Taylor's library, it had brick cross-vaults on four storeys. Soane even replicated the number and arrangement of the supporting piers. The library was removed at the beginning of the 20th century.

Literature: M. Acres, The Bank of England from within, 1931, p. 250; 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. 358-370; H. Rooksby Steele and F.R. Yerbury, The Old Bank of England, London, 1930, pp. 9, 16.

Madeleine Helmer, 2010



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

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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).  

Contents of Library, November 1797 -1799 (14)