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There is always a bit a curiosity linked with a place that host millions in gold and money ! This famous building, designed originally by Sir John Soane then rebuild by Sir Herbert Baker who demolished almost everything from the previous building, is something you can't miss when you're in the City. Giving its name to the underground station that stand close by, the Bank of England is a massive and imposing edifice which doesn't have much windows and doors except the main entrance.
Looking a bit like a fort ! And it's indeed exactly what the place is, being the official gold reserves of the United Kingdom and many other countries. Like an iceberg where there is just a small visible part, the bank has vaults, beneath the City of London. The size of the vaults covers a floor space greater than that of the second-tallest building in the City, Tower 42, and needs keys that are three feet long to open. The place hosts around 4600 tonnes of gold !
Unfortunately this part can't be visited but there are still a lot of history to discover. If before, access to the Bank's collections were done by appointment only and visitors were escorted, from the 1980s decision was taken to make the collections available to a greater audience and a museum opens in 1994.
The Museum sets out the history of the bank from its creation in 1694 to current times, displaying a wide-ranging collection detailing the history of the Bank. One of the displays you'll be able to see includes a reconstruction of a late-18th century office, where holders of Bank stock would come to collect their dividends, images showing the rebuilding of the Bank in the inter-war years. The section of the Bank Today, shows the use of modern technology that brings the Bank's current activities to a wider audience.
One area will particularly interest collectors as the museum displays the Bank's collections of notes and coins including a silver and a genuine bar of gold (99.79% pure gold) that can be handled ! (not taken handled only !)