How much gold is kept in the Bank of England?
Our gold vaults hold around 400,000 bars of gold, worth over £100 billion. That makes the Bank of England the second largest keeper of gold in the world (the New York Federal Reserve tops the list).
As this video explains, the vaults provide safe-keeping for the country’s gold reserves and for overseas central banks:
Can I get gold from the Bank of England today?
In the past you could exchange banknotes for the equivalent value in gold at the Bank of England, but this has not been possible since the early 1930s.
You can, however, hold a real gold bar in the Bank of England Museum.
Has any gold ever been stolen from the Bank of England?
No gold has ever been stolen from the Bank in over 320 years of history. However, there is a story that suggests that the Bank had a lucky escape in Victorian times…
In 1836, the Directors of the Bank received anonymous letters in which the writer claimed to have access to their gold, and offered to meet them in the gold vault at an hour of their choosing.
The Directors were finally persuaded to gather one night in the vault. At the agreed hour a noise was heard from beneath the floor and a man popped up through some of the floor boards.
The man was a sewerman who, during repair work, had discovered an old drain which ran immediately under the gold vault.
After the initial shock, a stock take revealed that he hadn’t taken any gold. For his honesty, the Bank rewarded him with a gift of £800 – which would be worth approximately £80,000 in today’s money (see our inflation calculator).