30 September 2016 | 12 °C

Bank of England Museum Shares Curiosities From The Vaults

Bank of England Museum Shares Curiosities From The Vaults
Sir John Soane's ballot box
Sir John Soane's ballot box.
Leather 'Camel pack for carrying gold over deserts'.
Leather 'Camel pack for carrying gold over deserts'.
Gold pile
Gold pile.
Dividend Day at the Bank of England by George Elgar Hicks
Dividend Day at the Bank of England by George Elgar Hicks.
Look out for the stuffed cat!
Look out for the stuffed cat!

To celebrate, 10 quirky objects and documents have been hauled out of the Bank's deep vaults and put on show. As well as Sir John Soane's secret ballot box and a camel saddle bag for carrying gold that *might* have belonged to Lawrence of Arabia you can admire unique bank notes signed by the likes of Nelson Mandela and George Eliot, art from the Bank's collection, intriguing letters and shiny gold bars of various sizes.

On which, don't fret, the 'can you lift a gold bar with one hand' attraction is still there, as is the charming Wind in the Willows display about Kenneth Graeme's employment at the Bank. Other exhibits have been updated with new guides and activities, including ever more interactive digital stuff.

Things have changed most noticeably in the wonderful reconstruction of Soane's Bank Stock Office room. Repeat visitors will notice that the stripy inflation balloon has gone and in its place is a boat-like structure embodying the Bank's mission to keep the UK's finances on an even keel with an opportunity to try and set monetary policy and learn about financial crises through history. Also gone are the waxwork figures in period costume showing what working life was like at the Bank around 1793. On asking what had happened to the memorable stuffed cat, the builders gave us a nod and a wink and revealed it's still in residence for the eagle-eyed.

The Bank of England Museum is open Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm and admission is free.

All images courtesy of the Bank of England (except the cat, photographed by Pete Berthoud).

The Bank of England museum was our Museum of the Month back in March 2010. Read more about it.

Last Updated 21 September 2016

Lindsey

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