Banking on this piece of Leeds history

IT WAS the Leeds building which signalled a new dawn for the UK’s central bank in the wake of the Great Train Robbery.

By Molly Lynch
Wednesday, 28th January 2015, 9:00 am
PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme

Yet over the decades which passed the significance of Bank House was lost as it was overshadowed by the skyscrapers and towering structures which now litter the skyline.

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Today English Heritage is attempting to re-ignite recognition of its history by hailing the former regional headquarters of the Bank of England as an architectural gem. Built between 1969 and 1971, the King Street office block has named among a list of the 14 finest post-war office buildings in England, celebrating the work of leading modern architects. This follows an English Heritage project to assess commercial buildings erected across the country from 1964 to 1984.

Newly grade II-listed Bank House, which is celebrated as the most architecturally ambitious example of the Bank of England’s 1960s programme of rebuilding regional centres which limited the movement of money around the country partly as a result of the infamous robbery of a Royal Mail train heading between Glasgow and London in the early hours of August 8, 1963. Nick Bridgland, designation team leader for English Heritage in the north said: “Bank House is a boldly designed and executed office building by a well-respected practice. Its powerful street-presence is offset by the use of good quality materials. This architectural finesse and historic interest mean it fully deserves listing at Grade II.”

Bank House was designed and built by Building Design Partnership, one of the largest practices operating in the 1960s, and considered by them to be a milestone project. Offices still occupy it today, but it is no longer the Bank of England’s base.