Spaces of capital: bank office building in the City of London, 1830–1870
Author: Black, I.S.
Source: Journal of Historical Geography, Volume 26, Number 3, July 2000 , pp. 351-375(25)
Publisher: Academic Press
Abstract:Over the nineteenth century the commercial heart of the City of London experienced a widespread transformation as the traditional mix of houses, shops and small-scale commercial spaces gave way to a new landscape dominated by the large-scale, purpose-built office building. The emergence of such specialized commercial office spaces was a key feature in the development of the modern metropolis. This paper explores this transformation by focusing on the building of new bank headquarters in the City between the 1830s and the 1870s. First, it presents a critical discussion of the relationships between the changing legal and institutional structures of banking in the early nineteenth century and the distinctive architectural forms chosen to represent these new corporate forms of the modern money economy. Second, it grounds these more generalized theoretical and contextual claims in the historical experience of specific banking institutions that built or rebuilt their headquarters in the mid-Victorian City. Emphasizing not only their need for increased physical accommodation, but also the differentiation and legitimation of their new and growing financial power, the paper explores the wider ideological role of the built environment in negotiating the complex and unstable qualities of the modern money economy.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Geography, King's College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS, UK
Publication date: July 1, 2000