Secret factory near the M11 and London Underground station where all the money in England is printed

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In the west of the county, in Epping Forest, there is a large factory with an interesting history.

As contactless payments and bank transfers become the norm when it comes to buying and selling products, hard cash still has its needs.

Physical money remains in circulation for the time being, and it is extremely important that old banknotes are regularly replaced with new ones in order to avoid wear and tear and to detect potential fraud or “dirty money”.

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With money constantly watched by the banks and the Treasury, you might think it’s a bit of a mystery where England’s money is made.

But it is not at all a mystery.

The factory where all of England’s banknotes are printed is right here in Essex – in the village of Debden, a short walk from the M11.

The Bank of England Printing House is located along Langston Road.

Construction of the factory began in the 1950s and Debden was chosen because of its rapid growth in previous years and the recently extended central line of the London Underground, from which the factory is around 500 meters.



The building is hidden behind tall metal doors and access is very limited

The factory itself was built in an art deco style, with a large domed roof allowing huge open sections of the building to stand inside without supporting beams.

Half of the roof was built with windows to let in as much light as possible.

The floor consisted of wooden parquet panels which are still in place today.

This patterned floor reduced dust and noise, giving the factory workers a very pleasant working experience.

Inside, the printing, drying and wrapping of the tickets all took place.



The building is close to the M11
The building is close to the M11

There’s even a locked vault behind bars to allow banknotes to air dry.

Due to the nature of the job, the Bank of England was keen to keep workers happy so that they did not try to disrupt such an incredibly important process.

It was such a concern that the building was constructed with a reception hall so that workers’ drama societies could put on shows and dart tournaments could take place.

The reception hall was built with a raised stage, even with curtains to allow real productions.

Production of banknotes began at the factory in 1956, and to this day every banknote ever printed has been printed at the factory.

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This includes modern polymer notes, which are also made in Debden.

Although the building is very large, easy to find, and listed on Google Maps, you cannot go up and visit it.

The building is hidden behind tall metal gates and access to the factory entrance is via a private road.

This means that if someone wanted to steal money from the factory, they would have to work there.

Which is not totally out of the question.

One of the jobs undertaken by the workers at the factory is to get rid of old banknotes which are withdrawn from circulation.

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Unlike coins, which can remain in circulation for several decades, banknotes have a relatively shorter shelf life and are incinerated if they have been in circulation for too long.

Obviously, the lure of saving those banknotes, which can still be used in everyday life, from destruction is an attractive proposition.

However, it is illegal, and six adults who tried to do just that were jailed or heavily fined in the 1990s.

So every time you get a banknote from the ATM, know that it really doesn’t come from a far away place.

Night and day fresh banknotes are made inside the Essex border.


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