- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
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To accommodate the Bank's expansion and facilitate the movement of traffic around the perimeter, Soane's plan was for Princes Street to be rebuilt in a straight line running from the Mansion House to Lothbury Street. However, the new Princes Street would bisect the Grocers Company's garden. Negotiations carried on between Soane and Thomas Leverton, the Company's Surveyor, until April 1800 when the two agreed that Princes Street would turn abruptly north to avoid bisecting the garden completely. This would have left much less space for the new north-west extension. Fortunately for Soane, however, the plan was brought before the City of London's Court of Common Council on 25 April, and the City Lands Committee, including its Clerk of the City Works George Dance, in mid-May. The Committee preferred the straightened Princes Street, overriding all negotiations and on 30 June 1800, Parliament authorized the decision. In June 1801 the Bank paid the Grocers £6,800 compensation as well as exchanging a small parcel of land to the north of their Hall.
While the freehold properties were acquired easily, the leaseholders were more difficult to satisfy. Notice was given to the leaseholders at the end of 1802 and in 1803 (Acres). Soane reported in May 1803 that eight houses were still occupied. Three occupants on Lothburywere paid in August 1804 and in December 1804 Soane reported to the Committee of Building that Number 14 Lothbury, occupied by Mr Collingridge, was finally purchased. Collingridge, a Secondary (an attorney's position for the City of London) had demanded more than the Bank was willing to pay in early 1803. Number 14 was the Secondary's Office with a house behind belonging to an officer of that office, presumably Collingridge. William Healing, an occupant of Number 20 Lothbury was paid by the end of January 1805.
The screen wall enclosing the north-west extension was constructed between 1803 and 1808, as the buildings inside were erected. The north-east extension screen wall, 1796-7, was continued and essentially doubled in width on Lothbury Street, with additional blind Tivoli windows. Preliminary designs for the screen wall, as shown in drawings 5 to 10, feature a columned projection in the centre, capped with either a dome or a pediment. This projection was objected to for its encroachment upon the street, and a narrower projection was included in the executed wall.
Literature: M. Acres, The Bank of England from within, Oxford, 1931, pp. 397- 399; 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; H. Rooksby Steele and F.R. Yerbury, The Old Bank of England, London, 1930, p. 20.
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-west extension, 1800-1803 (23)
- Survey and presentation drawings of the existing properties to the north-west of the Bank and presentation drawing for the Building Committee, one dated 1802 (4)
- Surveys of the existing property, with preliminary designs for the north-west extension and the realigned Princes Street and a design for a domed central pavilion on Lothbury Street, 1800 (4)
- Surveys showing a curved Princes Street, November 1802 (2)
- Designs and contract drawing for negotiations with the Grocers' Company, 1800 and 1801 (5)
- Design and survey of the Grocers Company garden before and after the proposed Princes Street, 1800 and 1802 (5)
- Survey of the existing holdings and preliminary design for the proposed north-west extension, 1803
- Survey of Tokenhouse Yard, after 1799 (2)