DEFINITION of 'Old Lady'

An eighteenth century nickname for the Bank of England. The full name is the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, which refers to the bank's location. The Bank of England is located in the middle of the city of London on Threadneedle Street.

BREAKING DOWN 'Old Lady'

James Gillray first used the nickname in a caricature cartoon in 1797. The cartoon was entitled "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street in Danger", which some say pokes fun of the Bank of England for stopping cash payments. The Old Lady is seen dressed in one-pound bank notes, which the Bank of England used to compensate for the lack of cash reserves.

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