Bank of England Museum in London
The Bank of England Museum is located on the eastern side of the Bank of England, London, England in Bartholomew Lane. The museum is open to the public, free of charge, on weekdays only and on the day of the Lord Mayor's Show.
It covers around 10,000 square feet (1,000 square metres), and includes a reconstruction of a late 18th century office. Known as The Stock Office, this is where holders of Bank stock would come to collect their dividends. Displays in this area cover the history of the bank in roughly chronological order, including many images showing the rebuilding of the Bank in the inter-war years, and several figures in appropriate attire. Another section, called The Bank Today, uses modern technology to bring the Bank's current activities to a wider audience.
Other displays of examples from the Bank's collections of banknotes and coins, books and documents, pictures, furniture, statues, silver and even a real gold bar that can be handled can be found in the Rotunda area.
Previously access to the Bank's collections had been by appointment only and visitors were escorted through the Bank to a small display area. In the 1980s the Bank decided that it would like to make its collections (and indeed itself) available to a greater audience and so planned to create a new museum which would open in 1994 the year of the Bank's tercentenary.
However a fire in 1986 caused severe damage to the area of the Bank above the proposed site and it was decided to begin work then rather than repair and rebuild later. The work took about 18 months to complete and the new museum, designed by exhibition consultants Higgins Gardner & Partners, was opened in 1988 by the Queen. In the same year it received the City Heritage Award and the Stone Federation Award for Outstanding Craftsmanship.
Kenneth Grahame, the author of The Wind in the Willows worked for thirty years at the bank rising to the rank of Secretary, and the museum has a permanent display which includes his dramatic resignation letter.