Free | Bank of England Museum
City workers that have to navigate their way along the labyrinthine corridors off Bank junction to get to the office every morning can be forgiven for rushing past this historical trading site, eager to escape the congested mayhem.
Luckily, the Bank of England Museum – an often-overlooked gem – has cracked open its archive for a free, year-long exhibition in partnership with the Royal Photographic Society, so you can gape in wonder at the area’s illustrious and often strange past without being mown down by a number 25 bus.
Capturing the City begins with early salt paper prints from the 1840s and ends with contemporary images of Mark Carney, striding around the Bank’s corridors, looking for more toner for the money printing machine.
It also includes photography of the “lost” Bank of England designed and described by architect Sir John Soanes as “the pride and boast of my life”, before it was promptly torn down in favour of Sir Herbert Baker’s larger building, which stands on Threadneedle Street today.
Particular highlights come from the Second World War-era, with images of gas-mask clad staff, surgical operations taking place in an Emergency Operating Theatre set up in the sub-vault and views of VE Day celebrations from the roof of the Bank.