Iain Black
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Imperial visions
Rebuilding the Bank of England, 1919–39
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This chapter describes the Bank Junction in the inter-war period and considers the rebuilding of the Bank of England by Sir Herbert Baker. By the 1920s Baker had a distinguished record as an architect in the service of empire. The question of rebuilding the Bank of England was first actively considered during the First World War. Once commissioned, Baker worked quickly to prepare his report, presenting it to the Rebuilding Committee. Baker's reports indicates, the rebuilding of the Bank required particular sensitivity to issues of conservation, historical continuity, public taste and opinion. For Baker, the architectural problem was maintaining the unity of the expanded building while preserving as much of Sir John Soane's work as possible. Baker, in giving architectural expression to the new Bank, was working within an imperial vision drawn from the Pax Britannica, the gold-sterling standard and the unquestioned imperial supremacy of the long nineteenth-century.

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