George Sampson was a bread & butter sort of chap, a project manager cum architect with just enough flair to impress a group of hard-nosed businessmen.
We don’t really know. But he was selected from 8 supplicants when the Bank of England decided that 40 years in rented premises was enough. Two schemes were shortlisted and a couple of weeks later his was chosen, and promptly erected on a site they had purchased some 15 years earlier.
Sampson designed a double-courtyard block, formal but not overly grandiose. He adopted the Palladian style, introduced by William Kent a decade or so earlier and now the height of fashion. Symmetry and order on a rusticated base, symbolize the security and integrity of the Bank. Merchants and gentlemen drive their coaches through the triple archway, make a turn in the Entrance Court and alight on the steps of the Pay Hall, a lofty volume similar in scale and proportion to the space they had used at the Grocer’s Hall for the…