Where the Bank of England keeps its money – including 2billion plastic £20 notes
It's been a busy week for the Bank of England's cashiers, following the launch of the new plastic £20 note which is said to be the Bank's most secure note yet.
Over the past 14 months, more than 2billion have been printed, ahead of its official release on Thursday, February 20.
Last week, thousands of batches, each with their own serial numbers, were issued to banks, post offices and cash points around England and Wales.
And while the Bank was unable to say exactly how many entered circulation on the day – it said 2billion have been printed to date.
So where are they being stored?
The Bank of England has been issuing banknotes for over 300 years – it's now the world's eighth oldest bank, and since 1734 it has operated from Threadneedle Street in the City of London.
And it's inside its hidden vaults that much of its money is kept – before entering the hands of the public.
The Bank's current underground, concrete-encased vault was built during the 1930s. It covers over 300,000 square foot – equivalent to almost ten football pitches.
These vaults home 400,000 bars of gold, stored on numbered shelved pallets.
But in these hidden rooms, billions of pounds worth of notes are also being stored for circulation.
There is a comprehensive electronic security system, which includes advanced voice recognition. Physical security is also used to gain access, including a huge key, which measures three foot or just under one metre long.
The Bank houses eighteen vaults in total. Nine for gold, and nine for cash.
Rows and rows fill the room, four levels high and packed full of brand new banknotes – but until these notes are taken across the threshold of the Bank, they have no value. They are just pieces of printed paper.
While the vaults are closed to the public, the Bank's museum is open to the public all year round for free.
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