Key moments in the Bank's history - a brief guide
The 19th Century
The 1844 Bank Charter Act tied the note issue to the Bank's gold reserves. The Bank was required to keep the accounts of the note issue separate from those of its banking operations and produce a weekly summary of both accounts. The Bank Return, as it's called, is still published every week.
Lender of last resort
In the 19th Century the Bank took on the role of lender of last resort, providing stability during several financial crises.
The First World War: 1914-18
During the First World War the National Debt jumped to £7 billion. The Bank helped manage Government borrowing and resist inflationary pressures.
In 1931 the United Kingdom left the gold standard; its gold and foreign exchange reserves were transferred to the Treasury. But their management was still handled by the Bank and this remains the case today.
After the Second World War the bank was nationalised. It remained the Treasury's adviser, agent and debt manager.
During the 1970s, the Bank played a key role during several banking crises. The Bank was at the fore when monetary policy again became a central part of Government policy in the 1980s.
Operational independence May 1997
In May 1997 the Government gave the Bank responsibility for setting interest rates to meet the Government's stated inflation target. This was enshrined in the 1998 Bank of England Act.
The Financial Services Act 2012 established an independent Financial Policy Committee (FPC), a new Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) as a subsidiary of the Bank, and created new responsibilities for the supervision of financial market infrastructure providers. The reforms came into force on 1 April 2013.