Bank of England about 1892

THE BANK OF ENGLAND LONDON — In the very heart of the city of London stands a low-browed, massive structure, streaked with soot and without even a window in its outer walls. It is the Bank of England. This absence of windows is supposed to give greater security to its valuable contents, the light within being received from interior courts and skylights. The structure looks therefore like a gigantic strong-box, covering four acres of territory! This establishment, though a national institution, is itself a private corporation. Its capital is about seventy-five million dollars, and its bullion alone is supposed to be at least one hundred and twenty-five million dollars in value. Its affairs are managed by a governor, a deputy governor, twenty-four directors and nine hundred clerks. Below the surface of the ground there are more rooms in this structure than on the ground floor. One looks with almost a feeling of awe upon this building. Architecturally it has nothing to attract us, but we feel that it stands as a representative of the wealthiest and most influential empire on our globe. It has a lifeblood of its own which regulates the pulse of the financial world. Whatever is done within those massive walls will be felt in the Antipodes. One can hardly estimate the shock which the entire world would experience if public confidence in this institution were shaken. Almost the same thing can be said of it that was once affirmed of the Roman Colosseum: “While stands the Bank of England, England stands; When falls the Bank of England, England falls; When England falls — the world.” (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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