The pound in your pocket

Could you control the economy? Give it a try at a new free exhibition: The Pound in your Pocket, at the Bank of England Museum in the City
Bank of England Museum, EC2
Bank of England Museum, Bartholomew Lane, EC2
With property prices and interest rates hogging the headlines, The Pound in Your Pocket exhibition is particularly appropriate. The main attraction is a simulated "balloon", which represents inflation.

Adults and children alike can attempt to take control - as the Bank itself does. They must keep the balloon on a steady course, by adding or letting out air, in response to the buffetings of economic and political changes at home and abroad.

This and other interactive exhibits provide lots of family fun, while explaining more seriously the history and effects of inflation. Among the numerous attractions are gleaming gold bars from ancient Rome (where inflation supposedly started), as well as caustic cartoons lampooning 18th century price hikes.

Shrinking sterling silver pennies vividly demonstrate the debasement of coinage, with exhibits from Norman times to the reign of Charles II.

Interactive exhibits at the Bank of England Museum
Interactive exhibits at the Bank of England Museum
Round the corner from the museum is the Bank of England itself, affectionately known as the "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street". It dates back to 1694, and moved to its present site in 1732. The architect of its imposing exterior was Sir John Soane, who sketched the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli as inspiration for the Bank's stately corner colonnade.

The Pound in your Pocket runs until 31 October, open Monday to Friday from 10am to 5pm (closed public/Bank Holidays). Bank of England Museum, Bartholomew Lane, EC2 (020 7601 5545; www.bankofengland.co.uk).

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