For its first 40 years, the Bank rented premises. The first was in the hall of the Mercers' Company in Cheapside. The Bank moved to the larger Grocers' Company premises in Princes Street in 1695.
In 1734 it moved to purpose-built buildings in Threadneedle Street, which were approximately 80 feet wide (25m) and 300 feet long (90m). Over the next 100 years, the site was gradually extended, until the current outline was achieved in 1828.
The Bank has been served by a distinguished line of architects
George Sampson: 1732 to 1734
Few details of George Sampson’s life have survived. He appears to have been Clerk of Works at the Tower of London and Somerset House before becoming the first appointed architect to the Bank.
His only major work is the 1734 Bank, arguably Great Britain’s first purpose-built bank. Sampson's building was said to be in Palladian style, characterised by the use of symmetry and classical designs.
Sir Robert Taylor: 1764 to 1788
Sir Robert was a sculptor who turned to architecture later in life. His first contribution to the Bank was a number of buildings outside the main complex, on the site where the Royal Exchange now stands. Sir Robert then extended the Threadneedle Street façade of the Bank eastwards and, after the church of St Christopher-le-Stocks was demolished in 1781, westwards.
The western block contained a garden court, a room for the Court of Directors
and the reduced annuity office. The eastern block housed Taylor's Roman rotunda, which looked like a mini Pantheon enclosed on three sides by vaulted banking halls. To avoid piercing the outer walls with openings for light, he introduced top lighting to his new banking halls. These later inspired Sir John Soane, the Bank's next architect.
Sir John Soane: 1788 to 1833
Sir John Soane was one of England's greatest architects. His appointment in October 1788 as architect and surveyor to the Bank was the most important of his distinguished career.
The Bank was his main preoccupation for the next 45 years until his retirement in 1833, when he described it as '...a situation which has long been the pride and boast of my life'. He extended the Bank's site until it had doubled in size to 3.5 acres. He eventually enclosed it with a windowless wall in 1828.
The structure of Soane's Bank of England remained more or less untouched until it was demolished and a new building erected by the architect Herbert Baker between 1925 and 1939. However, Sir John’s outer wall remains in place to this day.
Professor C R Cockerell: 1833 to 1855
Charles Robert Cockerell reconstructed the Bank’s Dividend, Warrant and Cheques office and Accountant’s Drawing Office from 1834 to 1835. He later remodelled them as a large private drawing office from 1848 to 1850. After the Chartist troubles in 1848, Cockerell reconstructed the attic storey of the Bank as a fortified parapet walk.
P C Hardwick: 1855 to 1883
Philip Charles Hardwick was a leading architect of grand banking offices. In 1864 he designed Sovereign House, a former Bank of England building in Leeds.
Sir Arthur Blomfield: 1883 to 1899
Sir Arthur designed the former Law Courts Branch of the Bank of England on Fleet Street from 1886 to 1888. The Bank left the building in 1975, and it is now a pub.
A C Blomfield: 1899 to 1919
Arthur Conran Blomfield was the son of former Bank architect Sir Arthur Blomfield. Arthur Conran carried out work on the main Bank of England buildings.
Sir Herbert Baker: 1925 to 1939
Between 1925 and 1939, Sir Herbert demolished what had become known as 'The Old Bank' or 'Soane's Bank' (then regarded as one of London's architectural gems) and built a new headquarters for the Bank on the same 3.5 acre Threadneedle Street site.
The Old Bank had mostly been no more than three storeys high. Baker's new building rose seven storeys above ground and dropped three below to fit in the extra staff needed to tackle the Bank's rapidly increasing amount of work and responsibilities.
Who is the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street?