The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street is of the sort of age that you should never mention about a lady, but she’s dug out an object for every year of her life.

It’s in the central atrium of the Bank of England museum, and is essentially a load of exhibition cabinets filled with objects and stories to tell.

Each case covers a period of history, from the bank’s founding and displays of old bank notes and warrants, right up to modern day with cryptocurrencies and contact payments.

The exhibition can however sometimes feel that objects are on display less for their interesting story than to fill a need to find 325 different objects to put on display. Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of bank notes, some rather ordinary and already on display in the bank notes gallery, but some were genuinely interesting.

It was the less obvious objects that really caught the eye though. The curious rolls of clay that are round on one side and square on the other, turned out to be bricks, of the sort used to build large domes like the one the exhibition is taking place under.

The floral arrangement is made from old £50 notes, making it a very expensive bunch of flowers.

As an organisation of long life, it’s changed with the times, but right up to the 1970s, it was predominantly a male environment, which is reflected in simple objects such as this tag — with a strong indication that only a man would have it.

It’s often the smaller objects with seemingly ordinary text that reveals these nuggets of historical attitudes.

The exhibition is free to visit, as is the museum (which if you’ve never been is worth a visit), and will be open Mon-Fri until 15th June 2020.


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