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Reduced Annuities Office, 1816 (5)

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The Reduced Annuities Office was originally built as part of Sir Robert Taylor's south-west extension in the mid 1780s, completed in 1785. Located in the south-west corner without any external windows, it was lit by a large glazed lantern that spanned almost the entire width of the room. Paired Doric orders in four corners supported segmental arches that surrounded the room in a square, with a cross-vaulted lateral recess off of the north side of the room. Soane enlarged the room by expanding the recess further north, leaving much of the original intact. In June 1816 he received permission from the Bank to demolish the office's north wall and replace it with two screens of paired Doric columns. The former Armoury, positioned directly north of the Office, was reduced in size and offices were built on its upper storey (see other scheme). In 1809 the rooms were converted to an apartment for watchmen to sleep.

Reduced annuities was a popular public security. The Three per Cent Reduced Annuities fund was established in 1757 (McCulloch). The office was demolished in 1850 by C.R. Cockerell to make one L-shaped room along the south and west sides of the Garden Court.

Literature: R. McCulloch, A Dictionary, practical, theoretical, and historical, of Commerce and Commercial Navigation, London, 1850, p. 610; 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. 309-310.

Madeleine Helmer and Matilda Burn, 2011



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

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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 Reduced Annuities Office, 1816 (5)