Royal Mint Gets Refurbishing

August 16th, 2016 by

The historic Tower Hill site that once housed the operations of the Royal Mint in the United Kingdom is getting a refurbishing that developers hope will transform the area into a bustling commercial center.

Tower of London

The old Royal Mint Court ( Julie Cookson [Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 ] via Wikimedia Commons)

From the 13th century up until 1809, the Royal Mint was located at the Tower of London, an historic English castle near the River Thames. It then moved to the site that is being refurbished at Tower Hill until 1968.

As part of the renovations, two historic buildings (circa 1809) will be preserved. An addition to the west wing from the 1980s will be demolished to ensure the integrity of the original structures won’t be compromised.

Beyond restoration and preservation efforts, a sprawling new corporate and commercial area will begin construction after receiving approval from the Tower Hamlets Council at the end of July. The new complex will include 550,000 square feet for offices and an additional 50,000 square feet for “shops, caf├ęs and restaurants.” Two acres have also been set aside for public use.

The new construction will encompass five buildings and are expected to accommodate a total of 6,000 employees, hopefully providing an economic boost.

Legacy of the Royal Mint

The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint

According to the oldest surviving records, the Royal Mint can trace its origin back as far as 886 CE, over 1,100 years ago. However, it was one among many parochial minting facilities found in Great Britain during the Middle Ages until about the 16th century, when it secured a monopoly over minting the legal tender coins of the kingdom.

A few other milestones in the mint’s early history are 1348, when the first British gold coins are minted, as well as 1663, when all subsequent coins were manufactured by machine presses rather than hammered by hand.

British Gold Sovereign

British Gold Sovereign

When England and Scotland united in 1707 to form the United Kingdom (U.K.), this brought an end to operations for the Edinburgh Mint. When the minting operations are relocated to Tower Hill in 1810, it marked the first time that a facility specifically intended for coinage was constructed. (The Tower of London also served as a prison, armory, and public record office, among other uses.)

Renovation and rebuilding have been a fairly common theme in the history of the Royal Mint, whether due to rapidly advancing coining technology or the destruction wrought on London during World War II. Interestingly, the last coin struck at the Tower Hill location before moving to its current site was a Gold Sovereign.

You can find out more about the Royal Mint on their website.


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