bank 1Tuesday 20th May – 17th meeting of 2014

A meeting at Cannon Street and coffee in the Starbuck’s was the start to our day. Then a walk through the streets of the City of London to The Bank of England Museum on a very sunny warm day. Entry into the Museum is free and on entry the security is of course high with bags put from the x-ray machine.

We were given a guide book and map. The first building used was built by Sir John Sloane circa 1788 but during the 1920’s expansion was needed and the whole Bank was rebuilt by St Herbert Baker keeping only the curtain wall around the outside of the Bank that was Sloane’s original building. Today’s Bank is a blend of both architects’ styles.

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The exhibition is divided into nine sections and explains the workings of the Bank, monetary system in place, the history, making of banknotes and a special exhibition of Curiosities from the Vaults. Here we saw the secret ballot box designed by Sir John Sloane, £1,000 bank-note, medieval water jug and saddle bag possibly used by Lawrence of Arabia. In the exhibition was an example of the test was indeed in 1906 to get employment in the Bank. There was sample test for Arithmetic and Geography. Both tests were really hard. The Arithmetic was all in pound, shillings and pence and the Geography had questions on all corners of the globe. For sure I doubt if any of us would have made good material for Bank of England! There were also many coins and banknotes from very old to modern. Lots of gold bars on display and the chance to hold some gold! A gold bar weighing 13kg (28lb) was in a glass box and you could try to lift it! I struggled to move it but after a few attempts it manage to raise it about an inch.  We all tried and we had a clear winner.  One of our ladies lifted it with no problem at all!?????????????????

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This exhibition was very good interesting and informative which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was very busy with lots of school children there, tourists and members of the public.  It is good to see that our Museums are well attended and made good use of!

From here we walked to Cannon Street and made our way home before the rains came!

 

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