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  • image SM (5) 1/2/2

Reference number

SM (5) 1/2/2


Presentation drawing for south west extension by Sir Robert Taylor, 1780-82


5 (Bailey) Plan of the South West Wing of the Bank of England as designed by Sir Robert Taylor


to a scale


as above, (Bailey) Threadneedle Street

Signed and dated

  • c. 1782

Medium and dimensions

Pen and grey, yellow and pink washes, within single ruled border, on laid paper (514 x 746)


Taylor office


J Whatman and fleur-de-lis with JW below


Following the Gordon Riots of 1780, the directors feared that the Bank could be attacked by an angry mob. A neighbouring church, St Christopher-Le-Stocks, was so close to the Bank that the directors feared it could be easily stormed by rioters and used as a base from which to attack the Bank of England. Fortunately the Bank also needed the property for its own expansion. An Act of Parliament authorised purchasing of the church in 1781. Taylor's building works were then extended south and a secure wall on Threadneedle and Princes Streets was erected. In drawing 13, the existing bank buildings are coloured in black wash and the proposed buildings are in light red wash. The plan of the proposed buildings is not yet complete on the upper left hand side, but the same arrangement of rooms around a court was carried out in the built design. The plan also shows a design for converting the front court into rows of small enclosures that resemble urinals.


M. Binney, Sir Robert Taylor, 1984, p.75; D. Abramson, Building the Bank of England, 2005, pp. 83-87



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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.

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