The Bank rebuilt
During the 1920s and 1930s the Bank underwent a massive rebuilding. Sir John Soane's buildings, within the curtain wall, were replaced by a single structure designed by Sir Herbert Baker, extending to seven stories above ground and three stories below. The buildings were completed just before the Second World War and survived several bombs during the blitz.
The Bank acquired new functions during the war, notably exchange controls which required a large staff to administer and which continued until 1979. The enlarged Threadneedle Street building could not contain them all, and a new purpose-built block was constructed at New Change, near St Paul's. Since the ending of exchange controls, and the relocation of the Registrar's Department to Gloucester, most of New Change has been let to other firms.
Throughout its history the Bank has always seen itself as a public institution, acting in the national interest. Although privately owned, for much of its life, the activities which it undertook were determined by it governing legislation and by the relationship with government. Nationalisation in 1946 did not greatly affect that; but it meant that the Bank was owned by the Government, rather than by private stockholders, and gave the power to appoint the Governors and Directors to the Crown. The nationalisation Act also gave the Government the power to issue "directions" to the Bank: thus far, the power has not been used.
1997: Bank now responsible for monetary policy
In 1997 the Government announced its intention to transfer full operational responsibility for monetary policy to the Bank of England. The Bank thus rejoined the ranks of the world's "independent" central banks. However, debt management on behalf of the Government was transferred to HM Treasury, and the Bank's regulatory functions passes to the new Financial Services Authority.
2013: Major regulatory reforms
The financial crisis demonstrated the need for a new approach to financial regulation and major changes to the Bank came into force on 1 April 2013. The Financial Services Act 2012 established an independent Financial Policy Committee (FPC), a new prudential regulator as a subsidiary of the Bank, and created new responsibilities for the supervision of financial market infrastructure providers.