Gaining special privileges from the Crown in a time of war, the Bank of England was established in London in 1694. 1 After weathering the first few turbulent years, the Bank has since been the country's major financial institution, having close links with both government and the City. Until the middle of the nineteenth century a not insubstantial part of this influence stemmed from the Bank's sheer size relative to that of other banks, but it was its evolution as a central bank – discernible from the eighteenth century – that ultimately ensured the Bank of England's unique status. This chapter examines how and why this happened.