Bank of England Museum review
I don't suppose many tourists bother to visit the Bank of England Museum (or even the locals) but I've always had a soft spot for this place. But not because of the money. I don't really care about the history of the bank -- I like it because there's lots of architectural history on display inside here. They have cabinets full of old photos and paintings and drawings of the city stretching back 250 years, and I'm a sucker for those old street scenes -- I like seeing how the city has changed over the centuries.
Obviously the chief focus of the museum is the Bank of England itself, and they provide a very thorough history going all the way back to the 17th-century.
They explain how paper money came into being, what stocks and shares are all about, and how the South Sea Bubble burst and bust the money men. Much of it is a lot more interesting than you'd expect, with faded old papers and cash books signed by the likes of Nelson and Marlborough. They've even got the paper accounts of Handel on show, and some old dividends signed by George Washington and his missus. They've got statues and stone busts, oil paintings of the earliest governors, and historic old charters which are practically work of arts.
The central room has got a few scantily clad stone statues of classical ladies, and a bit about how they defended the bank with muskets and guns, and locked up the boxes with chunky metal keys that probably weigh more than me. There's also a totally incongruous display case about The Wind In The Willows, because Kenneth Grahame used to work at the bank. So that's what he did all day when he was supposed to be counting out the money: daydreaming about Ratty, Mole and Toad.
Forget about doing the lottery every week. Forget about buying some Premium Bonds and going down the bingo with your gran, because in here is your chance to steal a genuine gold bar. I am standing in front of it right now, and it is gleaming at me like the polished teeth of a supermodel. They are certainly very trusting with it, considering that there are so many shifty-looking tourists around -- they even let you touch it.
The placard above the cabinet suggests that it weighs 28 pounds, which apparently is the same weight as a 2-year-old kid -- but I'm guessing that it's the kind of kid who eats chips for tea every day. There is no way that a kid weighs ten tonnes.
The final section is like a Who's Who of British coins. You can have a walk down memory lane and see the shillings and sixpences from your youth, and the guineas and groats (you'll have to be pretty old to remember those). I can just about remember the halfpennies from the 1980s, but only because that was my week's wages at Sainsburys.
What do you think?Please leave a comment
Have you seen my London book?
Honest reviews of London’s landmarks and attractions
Money saving tips things to do for free and cheap days out
Useful information with opening times, prices, photos, maps
Fri 18th Aug, 2017Hi, I'm glad you enjoyed the review. Clarence House is going to be closed in October, by the way, if you were... more
Thu 10th Aug, 2017I emailed them to ask, and got this reply back: You are more than welcome to bring your dog on our boat trip. Not only... more
Tue 8th Aug, 2017Cheers Jim, I hope your enjoy your visit. I've been to Sydney a few times so I'm almost an Aussie. Never got... more
Wed 19th Jul, 2017It's a beautiful building to visit and well worth seeing inside, but I agree that the court cases themselves can be... more
Sat 15th Jul, 2017I can not think about your review, I am still laughing ... thanks. I plan to visit the Jewel Tower in August. The... more
Mon 10th Jul, 2017it's funny that you posted your comment today because I've just been thinking about going again (it's... more
Tue 27th Jun, 2017Not sure I can really help with a visa mate, but I hope you enjoy your visit
Tue 20th Jun, 2017I'm in the Top 10 fruitcakes, definitely... maybe the Top 5 on a good day
Tue 30th May, 2017Cheers bob, handy piece of info
Mon 29th May, 2017They're basically just buskers so I wouldn't have a clue, sorry. You could try contacting the Covent Garden... more
Thu 25th May, 2017To be honest I can't remember. You definitely can at St. Paul's because I sat in them myself (but then... more
Wed 24th May, 2017Apparently that's nothing more than a pat on the head, to tell the horse he's done a good job. But it's... more