New app is pure smartphone gold for Bank of England inside tour

By Culture24 Reporter | 11 July 2013

A room filled with more than 400,000 gold bars, each weighing two stone and worth £350,000, holds a few other secrets at the Bank of England's Threadneedle Street home.

A photo of the inside of a gold store
The Gold Vault at the Bank of England is now accessible via your smartphone© Bank of England
While replacing an old drain, a sewer worker reached the gold vault in 1836. With commendable honesty, he wrote to the Bank’s directors, met them in the hallowed space to prove his point, and received a reward of £800.

The modern-day view of the sight he witnessed is one of the vantage points available to the public as part of a new, free app acting as a behind-the-scenes tour guide to Threadneedle Street, glimpsing the architectural treasures and working rooms of a building occupied by the Bank since 1734.

It begins with a 3-D model of the building, from which individual parlours and rooms can be selected, such as the Cash Vault, where stacks of banknotes are loaded with security features.

The front hall’s floor mosaics – incorporating a 2nd century Roman villa – are decorated with monetary signs in a display of symbolism shared by bronze uprights, while the smaller details make up some of the highlights – mulberry trees in the central Garden Court are a nod to the pulp used on early paper money in 10th century China, and bodysnatchers were unable to reach the body of the 6ft 7 clerk, known as the Bank Giant, when he was buried there in 1798.

The room where the Monetary Policy Committee holds interest rate-setting summits, the dealing room and the Banking counter are also on offer in a tour full of 360-degree panoramic views.

More pictures:

A photo of a glorious courtyard
The Garden Court© Bank of England
A photo of a spiralling set of stairs with a mosaic at the bottom
The Cantilever Staircase is one of the longest in Europe© Bank of England
A photo of a smartphone showing a diagram of a building
The app on Android 1© Bank of England
A photo of a smartphone showing a tour of a building
iPad 2© Bank of England
A photo of a smartphone showing bits of gold
iPhone 5© Bank of England
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