A Sewage Worker Was Once Able To Break Into England’s Most Impenetrable Bank
The definition of the word “impenetrable” is “impossible to pass through or enter.” That’s right. Impossible. As in, there is absolutely no way in hell that anything can get by it or through it, so don’t even think about it. You got that?
That word is tossed around a lot and many things and places in history have been described as impenetrable. For example, think about the city of Troy or the Titanic. It was believed that they could not be destroyed or touched in any way at all. Impenetrable, huh? One Trojan horse comes in and BAM! The word impenetrable doesn’t mean a thing now, does it? Then there’s the Titanic. What an epic fail. That iceberg showed that ship who was in charge and that was that. So let’s not throw around the word “impenetrable” unless you are 100 percent sure that it cannot be penetrated under any circumstances.
The Bank Of England
If you find yourself strolling along Treadneedle Street in London, you will run right into the second-oldest bank in the world.
We are talking about The Bank Of England. How do you think they came up with such a unique name? It’s catchy, right?
When the Bank of England was described as being impenetrable, it was only a matter of time before someone was going to try to prove them wrong.
The Financial Stability Of The UK
The Bank of England, founded in 1734, maintains the financial stability in the United Kingdom.
While this may seem like an impossible task for just one bank to fulfill, when we tell you how much money is stored inside, it will be no surprise that the bank is responsible for keeping the country afloat for more than 300 years.
Because of how important the bank is and because it is massive in size, it has very strict security.
It Is Impenetrable?
The Bank of England is designed to keep everyone out and is considered to be “impenetrable.” Yup. There’s that word again!
Beneath the floor of the bank, it is believed that one will find more than 400,000 gold bars worth £100 billion or more than $126 billion.
Because of this, the Bank of England the second-largest keeper of gold in the world, just a few hundred thousand bars short of the New York Federal Reserve.
A Whole Lot Of Gold
And that much gold weighs a whole lot. 5,100 tons to be exact. Because of this, the bars must be carefully spread out across eight separate vaults to prevent them from sinking into the ground.
Then these vaults are bolstered by walls eight feet thick with massive doors and foot-long keys. Today, they even use voice-recognition technology.
We told you they have crazy security. And while it is now known as being impenetrable, that was not always the case.
Never Been Robbed
The bank brags that in its 285-year history that it has never been robbed. Ever.
And while they have stuck to that story since the beginning of its existence, an early 19th century incident may prove that that isn’t really a fact.
The story goes like this: In 1836, on a day like any other day ordinary day, the directors of the Bank of England received a very unusual letter. The sender did not reveal their name, but their message caused quite a stir.
Just A Prank
The anonymous sender claimed that they were able to have direct access to the gold beneath the bank! Impossible!
The directors, knowing that their bank was “impenetrable,” did not take the claims seriously and assumed that this was just a prank. They believed that nobody had access to the bank but them and that was that.
How could it be real? The bank was practically a fortress at this time and they were sure that there was no way anyone could get to the gold below.
A Second Letter
So the first letter was ignored and it wasn’t long before a second letter arrived.
This letter was even more ridiculous than the last. The sender said they wanted to meet the bank directors in person to discuss the matter.
Where did they want to meet exactly? You guessed it. Inside of The Bank Of England’s main vault. This was the first time that the directors thought that maybe they should take the letters a little more seriously.
Wondering whether there was any truth at all behind the sender’s claims, they knew that there was only one way to find out.
They wrote back to the sender and agreed to meeting in person. The meeting was set and now it was time to know the truth and set the record straight.
The day of the meeting came and it was time for the directors to make their way down to the bank’s main vault.
A Strange Noise
They cautiously walked down and looked around in anticipation, waiting for the intruder. As they scanned the room, they didn’t see anyone. “See, nobody is here! Let’s go back up!”
But then something strange happened. They heard a noise that came from underneath their feet.
Beneath the floorboards, a sound echoed and they believed that someone could actually be down there. Could it be the sender? Could he have been telling the truth all along?
Before Anyone Panics
And then, as they stood there, the floor lifted and from the darkness beneath the floorboards a man popped his head up and smiled at the directors.
Everyone’s mouth dropped. They were shocked as to what was happening. They couldn’t believe that it wasn’t a prank at all! And who was this guy anyway? Should they be scared? Should they call the police?
Before anyone panicked, the man quickly explained who he was and how he was able to get down there.
Followed A Tunnel
It turns out that this man was a sewer worker that had been assigned to work on repairs on Threadneedle Street just up the road from the bank.
While he was on a routine inspection of the area, he found an old drain tunnel and when he followed it he found that it lead directly to the vault. What a lucky guy!
Lucky for him, yes, but the bank definitely has some explaining to do!
A Terrible Mistake
The directors of the bank were horrified and knew that this mistake was no small one. This was a major security breach and a huge mess up on their end.
And, because he had direct access to the vault and they had no idea how long he did, there was a great possibility that this guy swiped some of the gold for himself.
If he wanted to, this man could have stolen thousands of pounds worth of gold and no one would ever have ever known.
To Tell The Truth
But when the man came forward, the bank directors counted the money and they realized that the sewer worker didn’t touch a thing.
Moved by his honesty, they rewarded him with £800 which is the equivalent of £80,000 or about $105,000 today.
Damn! That is a nice little reward. It certainly pays to tell the truth and this story is proof of that! We hope he did something nice with that chunk of cash.
Rumor Has It
But if you ask the bank, they will stick to their story that the bank is impenetrable. They will claim that this story is only a rumor and there is no truth to it at all.
To be fair, there is no record of the event or who the man was. There is no proof that any of this ever happened.
The Bank of England claims that it’s just a story that has been passed down over the years by employees at the bank.
What Do You Think?
So, do you think that there is any truth to the story? Do you think there was really a man who found a way in through a tunnel?
While there is no actual proof, there is one little document that may help prove that the story is true.
There are documents from the time period, an official repair record, that details work having been done on Threadneedle Street in 1836. Does this make the story true, or is this just a coincidence? I guess we had to be there to know the truth.