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Inside a Gold Bullion Vault

The Bank of England is one of the largest custodians of gold in the world, ranked 18th as of February 2015. And all that gold is stored in the Bank of England vault, one of the most secret vaults in Britain.

Shrouded in secrecy for security reasons, its exact location isn’t known, but is likely to be deep underneath London’s Threadneedle Street within the proximity of the Bank of England itself. The Bank won’t say how deep down the vault is buried, or even how heavy the vault doors are, but we do know that it has more floor space than the third-tallest building in the City, Tower 42.

Good Delivery Bars

The majority of the physical gold is stored in the form of 24-carat London Good Delivery bars, with each being between 350 and 430 troy ounces (10.9-13.4kg) and stamped with its precise weight. The oldest bar of gold has been in the vault since 1916, but due to the chemical properties of gold it hasn’t tarnished, oxidised or misshapen, and looks the same now as it did 100 years ago.

  • The average gold bar weighs 400 fine ounces – or around 13kg – with each being worth more than £300,000 as of July 2015
  • The vault opens with a combination of voice recognition and several keys, each one approximately three feet in length 
  • No gold has ever been stolen from the vault!


Cambridge University’s Professor Martyn Poliakoff is one of the privileged few – being neither an employee nor a member of its security team - to wander up and down its aisles: “One’s first reaction is that it can’t possibly be real because normally you don’t see such things. It looks like chocolates in the duty free at the airport or something like that. But these really are solid gold bars and it is quite extraordinary.”

Article Last Updated: Monday, July 20, 2015