What Plant and animal symbolism can be found in the Bank of England?

Central Banks are trying to connect with all possible walks of life. After destroying much of the financial life to which they were directly involved, they have moved to animal and plant life!

Bank of England Knowledge Bank has an interesting post showing “various plants, animals and mythical creatures around the Bank of England. Together they tell a story about our history, purpose and values.”

Why do lions guard the Bank of England’s entrance?

Lions are a symbol of strength, and they are sometimes used in architecture to ward off evil intent.  One of the first sights to greet visitors to the Bank of England is the lions sculpted on the large bronze doors. They are accompanied by stone lions on the outside of the building. Inside, lions decorate the walls, light fixtures and even the covers of electrical circuit boxes.

There are owls as well on the courtroom doorways:

The Court Room, for example, has owls above the doorways to signify wisdom and soundness. The borders of our entrance lobby’s mosaic floor feature laurel, olive and oak leaves. These are ancient symbols of peace, wisdom and solidity, respectively.

So, the talk about central bankers being hawks, doves or owls is hardly new. This thing of linking central banker to certain animals things have been known historically as well.

Finally about mulberry trees which are found in BoE as well. The first paper was printed on these leaves!

What’s special about mulberry trees?

The Bank of England’s Garden Court is a green space for real wildlife.

The site used to be a graveyard. More recently, it has provided a home for nesting pairs of black redstarts – a rare, protected bird species. There are fewer nesting pairs of black redstarts than golden eagles in the UK.

Four mulberry trees grow in this courtyard. They are a reminder of the origins of paper money: the earliest form of paper currency in seventh-century China was printed on paper made of beaten mulberry bark. The planting is practical as well as symbolic: the roots of mulberry trees grow horizontally rather than vertically into the ground, allowing them to grow safely above the Bank’s gold vaults.

Really nice to read these tidbits from BoE. Much better than the usual economics and finance stuff..

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