Up the stone steps. Through the heavy doors. Into an ornate lobby to be greeted by a security man wearing a pink frock coat and a top hat. These are a visitor’s first impressions of the Bank of England. The man in the fancy clothes, Reg Shaw, has worked there for 27 years. His coat is cleaned once a month. His top hat is custom-made by Patey of Mayfair, which has been making hats since 1695 – the year after the Bank of England opened its doors for the first time. All this sends a clear message: this place is old, this place is serious, this place has its own way of doing things. Like a medieval monastery, it is walled-off and self-contained. Behind this imposing facade, which occupies a three-acre site on Threadneedle Street, is one of the most powerful institutions in Britain. Upon entering, it feels a little like a mausoleum. The ceilings are high and there are mosaics on the floor. People speak quietly and walk with a measured tread. The corridors and stairwells form an intricate maze, in which staff sometimes get lost. It is not hard to see why some of the 2,200 people who… Read full this story
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