A Macroeconomic Tour of London

This tour can be conducted on foot, but links to virtual resources are also provided. 

55 Broadway, SW1H 0BD

This is a grade 1 art deco building near St James’ park, originally home to the London Underground. It’s not particularly tall (it’s only slightly bigger than Big Ben, and half the height of St Paul’s Cathedral) but given that it has a steel frame it is not only a skyscraper, but London’s first! (It doesn’t look like a skyscraper, but the stone encasing provides no structural integrity. Sadly, it closed in January 2020.

If you visit, try to spot the naked sculptures, Night and Day, on the outside of the building. (For controversy on this, see here).

HM Treasury, SW1A 2HQ

The Treasury is responsible for public finance and economic policy of the UK. It is located within the Government Offices in Great George Street, near Parliament Square. It has a large internal courtyard and the basement is home to the Churchill War Rooms (part of the Imperial War Museum).

Fun fact: It served as the headquarters for MI6 in the Bond movie, Spectre, and was the starting point of the street race in Fast And Furious 6.

11 Downing Street, SW1A 2AB

Next door to the most famous address in the UK (10 Downing Street is the government headquarters and traditionally the private residence of the Prime Minister), 11 Downing Street is the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is the equivalent of a “Minister of Finance”, which is the person responsible for fiscal policy.

Fun fact: Because the private living space is larger at no. 11 than no. 10, when Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997 he decided to live there instead. Every subsequent prime minster has done the same thing.

Take a virtual tour here: https://artsandculture.google.com/u/0/partner/10-downing-street

Bank of England, EC2R 8AH

Established in 1694 this is one of the oldest banks in the world and a model for central banks. It was nationalised in 1946. It has a monopoly on producing banknotes in England and Wales, and is responsible for the conduct of UK monetary policy.

There is an excellent museum in the basement, and several online exhibits, including this one on banknotes. The basement also houses the Bank of England vaults, which contain over 400,000 bars of gold.

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