The Great Hall, Bank of England. Hand-coloured aquatint. The newly centralised Bank of England was the largest and most powerful financial undertaking in the City of London. During the late 18th and early 19th century, its complex of buildings was redeveloped in a grand style under the direction of the architect John Soane (1753-1837). In the Great Hall, bank notes were issued and exchanged. In another giant hall, hundreds of professional brokers and jobbers as well as ordinary investors came to buy and sell government stock each day.