The Note Circulation Scheme, to which the payments industry signs up, organises drivers to distribute banknotes around the country. The money is held in depots, or cash centres, by the commercial banks, cash-in-transit companies or the Post Office.
The currency is counted and packed into trays before being delivered to branches or cash machines.
The Bank aims to keep the number of notes to a minimum - enough to keep up with demand but also trying to keep them in good condition.
Butcher Robert Morgan has some £5 notes ready at the start of the day, but often runs out within a couple of hours of opening.
Butcher Robert Morgan
"Fivers run out quicker than anything else," says the butcher of 20 years' experience. "Customers come in with large denomination notes and so I run out of £5 notes and coins and often have to go to find some more."
As he speaks, he hands one of his fivers in change to Sarah Blooman, who is buying some stewing beef with a £10 note.
The 30-year-old is a mother-of-three and prefers using cash because it is easier to budget. She finds she does not keep £5 notes for long because it is quicker and easier to grab a fiver from her purse than count out the coins.
"You end up with a stack of coins. I'll spend this fiver in a local shop almost immediately," she says.
The life of a note ranges from about a year for the £5 note to five or more years for the £50 note.
High speed note sorting machines separate the returned notes into those which are fit for re-issue, those which are too dirty or damaged for further circulation and any counterfeit notes which may have entered circulation.
Until 1990, unfit bank-notes were incinerated. The heat generated was used to supplement the heating at the Bank of England site in Debden.
Notes are now shredded on site rather than burnt. The remains then go to landfill or are taken to an industrial incinerator.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.