On two Saturdays this July and again over a weekend in September, the Bank of England will invite visitors behind the scenes for an illuminating tour through the working rooms and architectural treasures ordinarily hidden from public view within Sir Herbert Baker’s Threadneedle Street building.
The free Open Door and Open House events are annual opportunities to explore the Bank’s architecture and visit the rooms in which some of the UK’s key monetary decisions are discussed and made.
Among the highlights are a Roman mosaic in the Bank’s front hall; the Garden Court, whose mulberry trees are a nod to the earliest days of paper money which was issued in 10th-century China on the pulp of mulberry trees; and, past the Governor’s office and up on the first floor, the beautiful suite of Bank parlours, including the Committee Room, where the official interest rate is set, and the Court Room, which among many beautiful features includes a wind-dial, originally installed so that the Bank’s Directors could forecast the arrival of merchant shipping in the Port of London.
The tour will also include an opportunity to visit the Bank of England Museum’s new exhibition Cartoons and Caricatures, which presents the finest examples of two centuries of satirical press coverage of the Bank. Among the key exhibits is the 1797 cartoon which gave the Bank of England its nickname. James Gillray’s cartoon, The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street in Danger, features among many original works showing how the Bank has been portrayed by newspaper and magazine artists since the 18th-century. Cartoons and Caricatures runs from 17 May – 31 December 2013.
Open Door - part of the City of London Festival: Thirty minute behind-the-scenes tours of the Bank and Museum, taking in the Front Hall, Garden Court, the Monetary Policy Committee’s meeting room and the Court Room. No booking required. Dates: Saturdays 6 & 13 July. Times: 9.30am–5pm. Last entry 4pm.
Open House London: Thirty minute guided tours, which will include the Front Hall, Garden Court, the Monetary Policy Committee’s meeting room and the Court Room. No booking required. Come early to avoid the queue.
Dates: Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 September. Times: 9.30am - 5pm. Last entry 4pm