Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Barracks and Bank Note Printing Office, 1791 and 1796 (2)


Barracks and Bank Note Printing Office, 1791 and 1796 (2)

Signed and dated

  • Main Year: 0


The Barracks housed the thirty soldiers and three officers of the King's Guard who kept watch at the Bank each night. The Barracks was a part of Robert Taylor's new south-west wing, which had been only partly constructed between 1783 and the architect's death in 1788. Soane took over the completion of the wing, including building the Barracks at the north-west corner. In April 1790, Soane presented his plan for a Barracks with a Printing Office above.

The Bank decided to build its Barracks after the Gordon Riots of June 1780. The Bank had been attacked on three occassions by the angry mob. In the riot's aftermath, the church of St Christopher le Stocks was acquired by the Bank and demolished and a nightly guard was instituted. From 1780, thirty soldiers of the King's Guard kept watch at the Bank each night. They were accompanied by two senior officers who the Bank honoured with a complimentary meal each evening.

Heavy rustication around the doors, pyramids of cannon balls and an unadorned front contributed to the military tone of the Barracks building. Plaques inscribed 'Order' and 'Discipline' were postioned over the side portals. The Barracks were closed off from the rest of the Bank, accessed through a separate entrance on Princes Street.

The Barracks were moved into the north-west extension in 1805, for which more drawings exist in a separate scheme (3:11). Just as the original Barracks, the north-west building was integrated with the printing offices, and had a separate entrance for the guard.

Literature: E. Marston Acres, The Bank of England from within, London, 1931. pp. 220, 387-91; 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, p. 336.

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 Barracks and Bank Note Printing Office, 1791 and 1796 (2)