How The Bank Of England Inspired These Famous Books

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 85 months ago

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Last Updated 28 June 2017

How The Bank Of England Inspired These Famous Books

The Bank of England is more associated with pinstripe suits than putting pen to paper, but a new exhibition is exploring its literary connections.

Stories from the City coincides with the release of a new polymer £10 note in September 2017, featuring Jane Austen. To celebrate, various artefacts will go on display to highlight 300 years of literary connections to the Bank.

Original hand-drawn artwork for the £10 note which featured Charles Dickens, including a scene from the Pickwick Papers: the cricket match between Dingly Dell and All Muggleton. Drawn by Roger Withington, based on an illustration by R Buss.

Remember the Charles Dickens £10 note? Original hand-drawn artwork for it will be on display, alongside a One Thousand Pound Note, signed by George Eliot.

Dickens, along with Jules Verne and John Brophy, are just some of the authors who have mentioned the Bank of England in their work. Others, including P.G. Wodehouse, T.S. Eliot and Charles Lamb, worked nearby and drew inspiration from it.

Original hand-drawn artwork for the £10 note which featured Charles Dickens

Did you know that Wind in the Willows author Kenneth Grahame worked at the Bank of England for 30 years? The Square Mile may not be the bucolic inspiration you'd expect for Mole, Rat, Toad and co., but Grahame wrote the children's classic while working as Secretary of the Bank — although it wasn't published until after he left.

The £10 note itself also celebrates literary heritage, featuring the quote "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!" from Pride and Prejudice. The main image is Jane Austen herself, while the background features Godmersham Park, home of Austen's brother Edward Austen Knight, and an illustration of Pride and Prejudice character Elizabeth Bennet.

Stories from the City: The Bank of England in Literature is at the Bank of England Museum 19 July 2017 - summer 2018. Admission to the museum and the exhibition is free.