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Bank buildings by Sir Robert Taylor, 1766 and 1802 (10)

Sir Rober Taylor built two blocks of commerical offices across the street from the Bank, 1764-68. The Bank of England purchased the land in 1764, assisted by an Act of Parliament, and improved and widened the street before erecting the office blocks. Robert Taylor oversaw the negotiations with landlords and tenants for both acquiring the land and, once the buildings were constructed, managing the leases to new tenants. Soane was later given these responsibilities.

The two blocks were situated on either side of the new Bank Street. The buildings' exteriors were designed a style similar to Taylor's screen wall of the Bank. Construction began in 1764, conducted by the builder Edward Gray. The eastern block was finished in 1766. It consisted of four ground floor units, each at four storeys, and had two public coffee houses and a purpose-built unit for the Sun Fire Office. The other block was completed in May 1769 and consisted of six units. The first leases for this unit were for banking firms and other finance related businesses.

As surveyor to the Bank of England, Soane was responsible for maintenance and repairs, as well as the Bank's other properties. He kept the Bank directors up to date regarding the buildings' tenants and leases, such as the renewal of the Sun Fire Office's lease in 1799.

Literature: 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. 248-251; A.T. Bolton, The Works of Sir John Soane, 1924, pp. 32-34.

Madeleine Helmer, 2010
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