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Princes Street screen wall and offices, 1790-91 (9)

The south-west wing designed by Robert Taylor and completed in 1785 was faced with a screen wall on Threadneedle and Princes Streets. The wall on Princes Street (on the west side of the Bank) was not treated with the same Italianate arcade as the other fa├žades, consisting instead of a simple face with a pavilion at either end. The wall was built in 1786, when the brick walls of former houses were finally cleared and the wall was built. The brick walls and remains had served as a make-shift protection on the Bank's west side until a local committee requested that the remains be cleared.

On 7 May 1789, Soane proposed raising the kerb on Princes Street and installing new ironwork. In November 1791 presentation designs were shown to the Building Committee for adorning the wall with terminal pavilions at both ends. In 1792 building works were carried out on the wall, probably for the construction of the new gate but not for the terminal pavilions.

In April 1793 the Building Committee approved Soane's design for new buildings behind the wall, including a Drawing Office, Accountants Office and a Governor's Room with a corridor to the existing Committee Rooms. The offices were probably constructed in 1793 (see phase 2, sub-scheme 2).

For plans of the offices behind the Princes Street screen wall, see SM 9/3/3 and 4, drawings 3 and 4 in scheme 2:2. A later plan showing the rooms as part of the north-east extension, in 1803, is in SM 9/2/16, drawing 103 in 2:7.

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, pp. 315-316, 336-337.

Madeleine Helmer, 2010
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