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Old Lady of Threadneedle Street
 

 

A traditional and vernacular name for the Bank of England, which is situated in that London street. The nickname dates from the early nineteenth century and the time of the Napoleonic wars when the famous caricaturist, James Gilray, published a cartoon in which the Bank of England was portrayed as an old lady being attacked by certain politicians who wished to obtain her gold in order to further prosecute the war. It has been suggested that Gilray was obliquely referring to Sheridan’s description of the B Bank as ‘an elderly lady in the City’ during a speech in the Commons.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.