Picture the City: Mansion House

How do you pay for what you need?

By Bank of England Museum

The Old Stocks Market (c. 1699-1749) by Joseph van AkenBank of England Museum

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The Stocks Market was the main fish and meat market for the City of London. It was cleared in 1737 to make way for the building of Mansion House.

The market was re-built on Farringdon Street in 1829, changing from a fish and meat market to selling fruit, vegetables and herbs

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By moving the market out of central London, the local working class population no longer had easy access to the market’s produce. Their long working hours meant they had no time to go out of their way to buy food, which led to an increase in roving street vendors.    

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St Stephen Walbrook

There’s been a church here since medieval times. This version was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was finished in 1679. The north door was bricked up 6 years later to prevent the smell of the Stocks Market’s slaughterhouse from wafting into the church.   

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The people in this painting are buying food for their households. 

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The customers and stallholders relied on cash, but there wasn’t always enough in circulation! People used coins for everyday transactions as banknotes were only issued for larger amounts.

Crown Tavern Half Penny Token (c. 1660-1670) by Thomas BlagraveBank of England Museum

During the 1700s, there was not enough small change

Many businesses created their own coins, known as tokens, to pay their staff and give to customers. This penny token was made by Thomas Blagrave, who owned a coffee house on Threadneedle Street next to the Bank of England.

The Old Stocks Market (c. 1699-1749) by Joseph van AkenBank of England Museum

Mansion House (2020) by Justin PipergerBank of England Museum

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Today, technology has transformed the way we pay for things

Since 2017, there has been a significant growth in payments using debit cards over cash. This trend has been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, when card and contactless payments became the preferred method. Since 2020, five out of six payments are cashless.

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Despite this, there are around 10% more banknotes in circulation since March 2020. This suggests that while people aren’t using cash as much in day to day transactions, they still like to have cash as a security blanket.

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However you pay, the Bank of England’s job is to make sure there is enough cash to go around. The Bank oversees the payment systems which process millions of electronic payments, including credit and debit card transactions, every day.

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What payment methods do you prefer to use – cash, card, your phone? Why?

Mansion House (2020) by Justin PipergerBank of England Museum

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St Stephen Walbrook

Despite suffering slight damage during the bombing raids of the Second World War, Wren’s version of the church was restored and still stands today. It became a Grade I listed building in 1950.

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Mansion House

Following the construction of the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange, the area around the Stocks Market became a prestigious location. Mansion House was completed in 1758 and built in the Palladian style. 

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It became the perfect place for the Lord Mayor of London to call home, and is still the official residence of the Lord Mayor to this day. 

Their role includes acting as an international ambassador for the financial and professional services sector in the UK.    

The Old Stocks Market (c. 1699-1749) by Joseph van AkenBank of England Museum

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Back in historic London, you can just make out St Paul’s Cathedral looming in the distance. Why not go and check it out at Ludgate Hill.

Credits: Story

Picture the City is an exhibition produced by the Bank of England Museum.
Mansion House is stop 2 of 8 in this digital exhibition. The next stop is Ludgate Hill. To go to the start of the exhibition, click here.

All images © Bank of England Museum except where stated.
Explore more and discover the sites in real life on our website!

With thanks to: Thomas.Matthews.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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