Committee for Building Minutes 1764-1871

The Committee for Building was responsible for all aspects of the construction and maintenance of the Bank's Threadneedle Street building and its country branches.

The minutes are a major source for all those who are interested in the architectural history of one of the country's major financial institutions.

Before moving to its current location in Threadneedle Street, the Bank of England rented accommodation at the Mercers Hall in Cheapside, and then at the Grocer’s Hall in Princes Street. On 1 October 1730 a resolution was passed by the Court of Directors to erect a new building for the Bank. A 'Committee for Building a New Bank' was appointed and a site acquired in Threadneedle Street. A design by architect George Sampson was chosen, and his building was completed in 1734. 

The Bank soon found that the Sampson building was too small. Property around the existing building was acquired and Robert Taylor was appointed as the architect who would be responsible for the first major expansion of the building between 1764 and 1788.

One of the most significant chapters in the Bank’s building history began with the appointment of John Soane as architect in 1788. Over four decades he was responsible for enlarging the Bank to cover the site it occupies today. The Sir John Soane's Museum holds the main collection of papers and plans relating to his work at the Bank, but the Committee for Building Minutes provide an additional source for students of his work at the Bank of England. Soane's work on the building continued until 1828, when the final touches to the Bank’s now renowned façade were made.

After Soane, there were few major changes to the Bank's Head Office building until its complete rebuilding by Herbert Baker in the first half of the 20th century. Reconstructed parts of the earlier Bank buildings were incorporated by Baker, and Soane’s dramatic external wall still stands today.

Although the Committee for Building was formed in 1730 and continued until later than 1871, the minutes only survive for 1764-1871. The minutes and indices are presented separately below.

Archive Catalogue Reference: M5/262-268, M5/748
This page was last updated 31 January 2023