George Sampson and Sir Robert Taylor preceded Soane as architects of the Bank of England. The original Bank, built by George Sampson in 1732, was designed for a long, slightly angled, plot extending back from Threadneedle Street. Soane admired the architect's 'grand style of Palladian simplicity' (Committee of Building minutes, Bank of England Archive M5/262-267). Its courtyard resembled a large town house of the period, while its street front clearly referred to the Queen's Gallery at Somerset House, a building that would have been familiar to Sampson from his post as Clerk of Works at Somerset House. Sampson's design was chosen in a competition but it is likely that the built design incorporated some aspects of the desing submitted by another entrant, Theodore Jacobsen (Acres, p.168).
Robert Taylor added large single-storey wings to the east (1765-68) and west (1780-88) on Threadneedle Street. Considerations of security necessitated the absence of windows to the street and Taylor incorporated different types of top lighting in the offices. The west wing was erected on the site of the church St Christopher le Stocks, with the Garden Court on the site of the former church yard. The screen walls enclosing the new wings was faced with an Italianate loggia; it's small scale and delicate style was clearly incongruous with the existing Sampson exterior.
Literature:W. Marston Acres, The Bank of England from within, 1931, pp. 168-174; A.T. Bolton, The Works of Sir John Soane, 1924, pp. 32-34; 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.181-207, 251-253, 320-336