- "The bank is designed to protect England's gold reserves - a fortress guarded under lock and key."
- ―Abberline describing the bank, 1868.[src]
The Bank of England, formally the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, is the central bank of the United Kingdom. The custodian of the UK's official gold reserves, it has been headquartered on Threadneedle Street in London's main financial district, the City of London, since 1734.
Following England's defeat at the hands of the French in the Battle of Beachy Head, King William III was faced with the task of rebuilding the country's navy, but lacking the funds to do so. A Scottish merchant named William Paterson proposed the people raise a loan of £1.2 million for the English government, with those that donated being incorporated as "The Governor and Company of the Bank of England", with banking privileges that included the issuing of notes.
Established in 1694, the bank proved to be a resounding success, quickly gathering the money needed to rebuild the navy. Originally based in Mercer's Chapel, the organization moved to a new building on Threadneedle Street in 1734; since then, the bank has undergone numerous architectural changes.
In 1811, an employee was found guilty of forgery and executed for his crimes. The employee's sister, Sarah Whitehead, was grief-stricken and would visit the bank every day for the next 25 years, asking to see her brother. As a result, the bank become known as "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street", or simply, the "Old Lady".
- "Every fiscal quarter, a branch of the bank is robbed, never the same branch."
- ―Abberline on the bank robberies, 1868.[src]
However, the bank's printing plates were stolen in the ensuing confusion, causing London to be flooded with counterfeit currency. This, coupled with Twopenny's death, destroyed the citizenry's faith in their currency, with inflation rapidly setting in and riots growing in frequency. The printing plates were subsequently recovered and smuggled back into the bank by Evie Frye, at the behest of Sergeant Frederick Abberline, which helped restore faith in the economy.
- The Bank of England is custodian to the official gold reserves of the United Kingdom and many other countries. Its vault covers a floor space greater than that of the third-tallest building in the City, Tower 42, and its deposits are estimated to contain more than £156,000,000,000 (£156 billion) in gold.