The school’s recently established ‘Enterprise Society’ undertook their first visit on 24th March when they accepted an invitation from the Governor of the Bank of England to visit the bank in Threadneedle Street in the City.
Before checking in with security the children ate lunch and then met Mrs Nina Hargreaves from the Banknotes Directorate who took them to the bank’s Conference Room for an audio-visual presentation on the history of English banknotes. From there, the children were taken on a conducted tour of the bank and told about the gold depository below street level, which is one of the biggest in the world, holding some 400,000 gold bars.
The children were given the opportunity of seeing whether they could lift a gold bar weighing 400 troy ounces and shown historical banknotes from the bank’s museum collection. These included a million pound note from 1948 and some of the first ever hand-written pound notes issued in the 1720s.
They were then taken to interview the Bank’s Director of Notes, John Kendall, who showed them the new plastic ‘polymer’ bank notes that will very soon be replacing paper notes in the UK and invited the children to see if they could tear them – nobody could! Mr Kendall then fielded a host of questions followed by cakes and fruit juice!
Asked about the most interesting answers from the interview, Jake Wells commented:
“There really are One Million Pound notes – 4,000 of them – the Bank call them Giants!”
According to Kadesh Cato, “The Bank no longer burn notes when they wear out – they shred them and then sell them for compost”
Ridah Mumtaz said, “The Bank of England has one of the largest stocks of gold in the world”
The full interview, including all the questions and answers, will be published next term along with other interviews from recent visits, including BBC TV News and school invited guest events.