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    let's get back to the story of the Bank's evolution. First we have Sampson's bank, then Taylor extends to the east so the Transfer business can move out of the Entrance block. Taylors second intervention projects the Court Suite out to the West and adds a library at the back.

    Finally he adds the L shaped extension that embraces garden Court. Where this meets up with the Court Suite Taylor intended to erect a barracks block, but he died before this could be built. Soane took over the job, embellishing the Facade with symbolic stacks of cannon balls. He also closed off the site with a simple boundary wall along Princes Street, creating a roughly triangular backyard.

    This was not destined to stay empty for long. He proceeded to fill it up with an irregular patchwork of rooms, including a new governors office. Most of these rooms would be altered beyond recognition as part of Soane’s NW Extension, but the Governors room remained.

    In Sampson's bank, the court suite was directly behind the pay hall, on two levels, overlooking the Bullion yard. The Committee room was on the ground floor in the corner of the yard. Taylor moved it to the far end of the new wing, beyond the Court Room which had been on the first floor of the old block.

    The governor stayed behind for a couple of decades until Soane was able to slot him into the back yard. Even then his connection to the two meeting rooms was a bit circuitous. Another two decades would pass before Soane could reorganise the Directors Parlours. But that's another story.

    We elaborated the interior of the governor's office and the Court Suite quite a while ago, but the rooms where they used to be, behid the Pay Hall, remained empty shells. There isn't much information on which to base a fitout, just a fairly crude pencil-drawn section. Also, the function of these spaces later on in Soane's time is not very clear. It also seems that they were sub-divided in fairly pragmatic ways for clerical work of some kind. Rather than second-guess this banal reality, it seemed better to simply preserve a memory of the original spaces that Sampson created.

    The zone behind the new court suite had a very complex evolutionary history and it's easy to get confused. A diagram based on translucent overlays is helping me to understand how Soane's earlier work, crammed into the triangular yard, relates to his later expansion to the North-West. You can see that the triangular open space that he used for toilets earlier, actually forms the basis for the Waiting Room Court, (a much grander function, to be sure) To create the L-shaped "Long Passage" he cut through a small open yard between Sampson's rear block and Taylor's Library, then turned left and sliced portions off the two offices he had built into the triangular yard at the beginning of his career.

    I guess you could call that a palimpsest: layers of history overlaid upon each other. It's probably quite confusing to the casual observer, but this diagram really helps me to put those spatial and temporal relationships into some kind of logical framework.

    Let's finish with a couple of Enscape renders. The old Court Room by Sampson was smaller and less elaborate than Taylor's later creation, but it's also a long rectangular space, lit from one side. The paneling on the walls may actually have been timber, and we are missing a dado rail and skirting, but it's starting to look like an actual room, with a bit of character.

    Enscape is the right tool to give us an impression of the pleasant garden that the Bank acquired when it took over the churchyard. In the early days of the Bank, when they rented the Grocer's Hall, the director's parlours had overlooked a garden, so Taylor's new location was restoring a relationship with a prior history. I like this view, through the window at the west end of the Pay Hall. Of course most days in Eighteenth century London wouldn't have been so clear and sunny as this, but I'm claiming a bit of artistic license.

    Click here to view the entire blog post.

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