Inside the Bank of England’s Vaults: Can Cash Survive?

by Szu Ping Chan

It’s the smell that hits you first. As the doors to the Bank of England’s lifts slide open, the underground corridor that greets you doesn’t feel like it leads somewhere important.

Obsolete computers lie abandoned in the corner, while fork lift trucks are parked along the labyrinthine passages. Even the signs in the lift are cryptic.

“Four filled cages plus two persons or two scooters”, one declares.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a scooter before,” says Victoria Cleland, the Bank’s chief cashier and director of banknotes. As the light at the end of the corridor gets brighter, a musty odour fills the air.

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