The Bank of England Act
27 July 1694
The Bank of England Act was passed by Parliament on this day in British history, 27 July 1694. It officially founded the Bank of England, at the time only the second central bank in the world. The bank was primarily created to help finance a rebuilding of England’s navy in the face of defeat to France at the Battle of Beachy Head (1690), France’s greatest naval victory during the Nine Years’ War.
Tom Molineaux (1784-1818) was an American slave who won his freedom through his prowess as a boxer. He came to England in 1810 to challenge the British champion, Tom Cribb, but was defeated in a brutal and controversial fight.
An 18th century instrument designed to measure the blueness of the sky called a Cyanometer. The simple device was invented in 1789 by Swiss physicist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt who used the circular array of 53 shaded sections in experiments above the skies over Geneva, Chamonix and Mont Blanc. The Cyanometer helped lead to a successful conclusion that the blueness of the sky is a measure of transparency caused by the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere.
This is Coventry
Elevation, section and plan of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon penitentiary, drawn by Willey Reveley, 1791
The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow a watchman to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution without their being able to tell whether they are being watched or not.
The design consists of a circular structure with an “inspection house” at its centre, from which the managers or staff of the institution are able to watch the inmates, who are stationed around the perimeter. Bentham conceived the basic plan as being equally applicable to hospitals, schools, sanatoriums, daycares, and asylums, but he devoted most of his efforts to developing a design for a Panopticon prison, and it is his prison which is most widely understood by the term.
Bentham himself described the Panopticon as “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.” Elsewhere, he described the Panopticon prison as “a mill for grinding rogues honest”.
Dovedale by Moonlight, ca. 1784-85
Joseph Wright of Derby (English, Derby 1734 - 1797)
Oil on canvas
Allen Memorial Art Museum