In the west of the county in Epping Forest sits a large factory with an interesting history.
While contactless payments and bank transfers are becoming the norm when it comes to buying and selling products, cold hard cash still has its needs.
Physical money for now remains in circulation, and it’s vitally important that old bank notes regularly get changed out for new ones in order to prevent wear, and to track potential fraud or ‘dirty money’.
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With money consistently under monitoring by banks and the treasury, you might think that it’s a bit of a mystery where England’s money is made.
But it’s not a mystery at all.
The factory where all of England’s banknotes is printed is right here in Essex – in the village of Debden, just a stone’s throw from the M11.
The Bank of England Printing Works building sits along Langston Road.
Construction on the factory began in the 1950s, and Debden was chosen because of its rapid growth in the previous years, and the recently extended Central Line on the London Underground, of which the factory is approximately 500m away from.
The factory itself was constructed in an art deco style, with a grand domed roof allowing for huge open sections of the building to stand inside without support beams.
Half of the roof was built with windows to let as much light in as possible.
The floor was made of wooden parquet panels that are still in place today.
This patterned floor reduced dust and noise, allowing the workers at the factory a very agreeable working experience.
Inside, the printing, drying and packing of the notes all took place.
There’s even a strong room under lock and key behind bars to allow the bank notes to dry in the open.
Because of the nature of the job, the Bank of England were eager to keep workers happy so that they wouldn’t try and disrupt such an incredibly important process.
It was such a worry, that the building was built with a function hall so that workers’ drama societies could run shows, and darts tournaments could take place
The function room was built with a raised stage, even complete with curtains to allow for true productions to take place.
Production of bank notes began at the factory in 1956, and to this day, every bank note ever printed was done so at the factory.
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That 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 can’t go up and visit it.
The building is hidden behind high metal gates, and the lead up to the factory’s entrance is on a private road.
It means that if anyone ever wanted to steal money from the plant, they’d have to work there.
Which isn’t completely out of the question.
One job that is undertaken by workers at the factory is getting rid of old notes that are being taken out of circulation.
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Unlike coins, which can stay in circulation for many decades, notes have a relatively shorter shelf life, and are incinerated if they have been in circulation for too long.
Obviously, the lure of saving these banknotes, which can still be used in day-to-day life, from being destroyed is a attractive proposition.
However, it is illegal, and six adults who tried to get away with doing exactly that were jailed or heavily fined in the 1990s.
So whenever you get a banknote from the cash machine, know that they really didn’t come from a far away place.
Night and day, fresh bank notes are being made inside the Essex border .