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Reduced Annuities Office, 1816 (5)

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