Building the Bank of England Money, Architecture, Society, 1694-1942 Daniel M. Abramson

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
Publication date:
25 Nov 2005
352 pages: 310 x 250 x 24mm
180 b&w illustrations, 77 colour images


The Bank of England symbolizes the economic strength, influence, and potency of Britain. Founded in 1694, its world-famous buildings were built and rebuilt four times by different architects, most notably Sir John Soane. The Bank's three-and-aquarter-acre complex has included elegant public banking halls and private offices, courtyards and gardens, warehouses and vaults, residential apartments and guards' barracks. This lavishly illustrated book examines for the first time the entire architectural history of the Bank from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries. Drawing on a variety of perspectives, the book relates the history of the Bank of England to current debates on English economic, social, and urban history, including issues of national identity, mercantile politics, and the commercialization of culture. The book also shows how the building itself has expressed various historical tensions among the Bank's inhabitants and publics: its directors and detractors, its clerks and clientele, its tourists, and even its mob attackers.

Daniel M. Abramson is associate professor of architectural history and director of architectural studies at Tufts University.

"...[an] exhaustive study of the Bank's evolution...a classic."?Andrew Mead, AJ

'This book is magnificently documented and sumptuously produced and illustrated, making it a key reference book for every stage of the bank's architecture... I longed for more.' - Marcus Binney, Country Life

'Although this admirable book is primarily a lavishly illustrated architectural history, Abramson's approach to his topic gives insight into institutional character formation, from the interplay of its governance to the evolution of its role within the national economy.' - Gillian Darley, The Times Literary Supplement

??an imaginative and wide-ranging investigation of the relationship between the institution and architecture? Acute analysis runs through the book and helps, as Abramson aims, to show ?what architectural history can teach history? through one intense study.? - Jeremy Melvin, The Architectural Review

?Daniel M. Abramson?s handsomely produced and well-illustrated monograph on the Bank of England is an architectural history of the Bank in its fullest sense, encompassing the financial, political and social imperatives that led to the creation of the buildings that house this great British institution.? - Tim Knox, Burlington Magazine