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Did you know?
? The nickname the "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street" first appeared in print as the caption "Political Ravishment or The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street in danger" to a cartoon published in 1797 by James Gillray. It depicts William Pitt the Younger, the Prime Minister of the day, pretending to woo the Bank, which is personified by an elderly lady wearing a dress of £1 notes seated on a chest of gold.
? There are two theories for the name Threadneedle Street. One is that it comes from the sign with three needles, the arms of the needlemakers, who, tradition has it, had premises in Threadneedle Street. An alternative theory is that it was a child's game in 1751 in which children hold hands and the last two form an arch while the others run through, like threading a needle. This is repeated many times.
? The £ sign developed over the years from the letter 'L', the initial letter of the Latin word libra meaning a pound of money. It is generally agreed that the letters 's' for shilling and 'd' for penny stand for the Latin words "solidus" and "denarius" respectively. These were originally Roman coins of considerably greater value than the shilling and the penny.
? The facsimile signature of the Chief Cashier did not appear on Bank of England notes until 1870.
? The monarch's portrait did not appear on Bank of England notes until 1960.
? The firearms on the wall in the Museum Rotunda are percussion cap muskets. Similar weapons were issued to the Bank branches for defence.
? Between August 1940 and January 1941, the Bank of England staff collected £5000 to purchase a MKII Spitfire, which was presented to the Royal Air Force and subsequently named the Old Lady.
? The Bank of England's building in Threadneedle Street has more space below ground than is contained in the former NatWest Tower, now renamed Tower 42.
? For nearly 200 years, from 1780-1973, the Bank was protected every night by a military detachment called the Bank Guard or Picquet (pronounced picket). This protection of the premises followed the Gordon Riots of June 1780.
? The gilded-bronze figure set high above the dome between Princes Street and Lothbury and known as Ariel after the Spirit of the Air in Shakespeare's 'TheTempest', is the symbol of the dynamic spirit of the Bank carrying credit and trust over the world.