In the 16th and 17th centuries, two taverns stood on the site of the Old Bank of England. ‘The Cock’ and ‘The Haunch of Venison’ were both demolished in 1888 to make way for the construction of the Law Courts’ branch of The Bank of England.
The Bank of England traded here for 87 years, until 1975, when the premises were sold to a building society. In 1994, London brewers, Fuller, Smith and Turner took over the lease and began a major refurbishment - with the aim of restoring the splendid building to its former glory.
The Old Bank of England also has a more grisly connection with the past, for it lies between the site of the barber shop owned by Sweeney Todd, ‘The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’, and the pie shop owned by Mrs Lovett, his mistress. It was in the tunnels and vaults below the present building that his victims were butchered before being cooked and sold in the pies to Mrs Lovett’s unsuspecting customers.
As the former branch of The Bank of England, the basement still contains the original vaults used to store bullion, and indeed some of the Crown Jewels during the First World War. Whilst two safes have now been changed to hold our cellars and kitchens, the main vault is intact – and still contains the huge steel bullion cupboards.
The tunnels and vaults below the pub are said to be where notorious Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd, carried out his atrocities. He was famous for his pies too…