Visiting the Bank of England Museum

Business and economics are the engine that makes the western world spin and the Bank of England Museum is the place to celebrate that.  Can you tell that before I was Cultural Wednesday I was Business and Economics News producer for the BBC?  Indeed the first time I visited the Bank of England museum was with a film crew in tow.

Bank notes and the Bank of England

First plastic five pound note England
First English plastic banknote

Remember cash?  It was what we used to pay for things, right up until a couple of years ago.  Every banknote issued in England bears the signature of the Chief Cashier of the Bank of England. The history of the bank note from the first ones in 1694 right up to the current day.

Printing banknotes is not all that the Bank of England does. The Governor and his staff are responsible for keeping the economy on an even keel. The Bank is required to keep inflation at a steady rate, you can try your hand at doing this with a series of excellent interactive exhibitions. Economy a bit sluggish? Try some quantitative easing! Economics made easy, all very child friendly.

Bank of England and Gold

Bar of Gold at the Bank of England Museum
Could you pick up a gold bar?

Did you know that a fifth of the world’s gold is kept in the vaults beneath the Bank of England. The value of the stash fluctuates but its round about £170 billion. That’s all beneath your feet! Access to the vaults is not allowed. What there is though is a gold bar that you can lift up and it is surprisingly heavy. You can also take a virtual selfie in the vaults in a room cleverly rigged up to look like the vault.  Note to self: improve selfie technique.

Gold bar selfie

Slavery and the Bank

Over 300 years, 12 million African people were taken from their homes and transported away to be slaves. The trade both in people and the goods that their enslaved labour produced created great wealth in London and elsewhere.  Slavery and the Bank is a special exhibition that looks at the links between the Bank and the wider City and the slave trade.

Bank of England Museum online

If you can’t get up to London during the week to visit don’t despair you can explore the museum electronically.  The highlights of the museum and special exhibitions can be viewed online via Google Arts and Culture.

Visiting the Bank of England Museum

Don’t try to visit at the weekend because its shut, strictly City opening hours here; Nine to five, Monday to Friday. Tucked away in a side street off Threadneedle Street entering the museum feels like sneaking into the Bank via the back door.

While you are in the City why not explore the Roman origins of the City of London including a visit to London’s Amphitheatre

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10 Comments

  1. September 24, 2016 / 3:38 pm

    Had no idea so much wealth was stored in one place.
    Love the selfie! It looks really real too.

  2. September 27, 2016 / 11:07 am

    cool! I’ve visited it this year too! (and wrote about it) #citytripping

    • September 27, 2016 / 11:48 am

      Heading over to check yours out!

  3. September 27, 2016 / 11:30 am

    How cool! I never thought about touring a bank before! Would be cool to actually see all that gold in person! #CityTripping

    • September 27, 2016 / 11:49 am

      Even just gandling the one gold bar is pretty cool!

  4. September 28, 2016 / 12:59 pm

    I was very nearly fooled by your selfie in the gold vaults! Great that you get to hold a gold bar…although I bet security are close on hand! Lots of interesting facts – thanks for linking #citytripping

  5. September 28, 2016 / 4:28 pm

    I hadn’t realised there was quite simply much gold tucked away down there – I have always fancied trying to pick up the solid bar some time. I saw my first new fiver recently so the exhibition sounds really interesting. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  6. September 29, 2016 / 1:47 am

    We had visited Museum on the Mound, just to learn a little about notes and coins and barter system for the kids. I don’t think there was such feature in there to take virtual selfie, so this is pretty cool thing that you have done! #citytripping

  7. October 2, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    Our little one is obsessed with money so this is something he would love! Will put this in the to do pile, thanks for the inspiration #CityTripping

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