- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
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At this time Soane was appointed Attorney to the Bank and thus in charge of negotiating the purchase of these neighbouring properties. Upon acquisition, he first built an encircling screen wall mid-1797. The directors had considered building commercial space on Lothbury Street and leasing it, as with the Bank Buildings erected by Robert Taylor in 1765. By 1795, however, this idea was dropped in favour of a greater security. The drawings show Soane's preliminary designs for the north-east extension. The commercial offices were to front Lothbury Street with space behind for a Consols Transfer Offices, adjoining offices and a passage to a Bullion Court.
Most of the houses to the north-east belonged to the Haines estate, which the Bank purchased in 1792. Another cluster of houses on the north-west corner of Bartholomew Lane had been left by Mary Gransdon in 1719 to the Vicar of Deptford for poor boys and girls in two schools. The Bank purchased the houses from the trustees in July 1796. Later, in the summer of 1797, the Building Committee requested that Soane apply to the Committee of City Lands for improving the streets around the Bank.
Literature: H. Rooksby Steele and F.R. Yerbury, The Old Bank of England, London, 1930, p. 13; W. Marston Acres, The Bank of England from Within, Oxford, 1931, p. 393-395; 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.
Madeleine Helmer, 2010
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 Acquiring property for the north-east extension, 1792-94; and improvements to streets, 1797 (7)
- Survey drawings of the existing Bank and adjoining properties, one dated December 1792 (2) ***
- Preliminary designs for the north-east extension, one dated 1794 (2) ***
- Survey of the Front Court, the Barrack Court and the remaining houses on Bartholomew Lane, 22 October 1798 ***
- Survey related to the improvement of Bartholomew Lane, 13 June 1797 ***
- Survey of the existing vacant grounds and buildings, December 1797 (copied in January 1803)