BANKING: The Old Lady

In 1694, London had a foreign king, a nourishing stock exchange, a wealthy merchant class, and a war with France. All four sorely needed a bank. Harassed, Holland-born King William III of Orange, whose war-financing was down to the level of the nation's hock shops, asked a willing Parliament to approve the establishment of a Bank of England. Soon after, a corporation was formed and £1,200,000 raised by public subscription. With 19 employes, and a dim consciousness of its mission, the bank opened for business in Mercers' Chapel. In 1734 it moved to a building of its own...

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