The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.509393, -0.123160

1893 text

In the Strand; built, under the auspices of James I., in 1608, out of the stables of Durham House, the site of the present Adelphi. The New Exchange stood where Coutts’s banking-house now is. “It was built somewhat on the model of the Royal Exchange, with cellars beneath, a walk above, and rows of shops over that, filled chiefly with milliners, sempstresses, and the like.” It was also called ” Britain’s Burse.” ” He has a lodging in the Strand … to watch when ladies are gone to the china houses, or to the Exchange, that he may meet them by chance and give them presents, some two or three hundred pounds worth of toys, to be laughed at”—Ben Jonson, The Silent Woman, act i. sc. 1.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

9 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Wheatley: The New Exchnage on the south side of the Strand, built on the site of the stables of Durham House. The first stone was laid June 10th, 1608, and the new building was named by James I. "Britain's Burse." It was a much frequented place after the Restoration, and the destruction of the Royal Exchange in the Great Fire caused it much prosperity for a time. It was taken down in 1737.

Pedro  •  Link

The New Exchange.

"At that time there was, on the south side of the Strand, a kind of bazaar called the New Exchange; the buildings of the Adelphi now cover its site. It was opened in 1608 by James I, who named it 'Britain's Burse,' but in popular parlance it never received any other designation than the New Exchange. It consisted of four rows or walks--two on the ground-floor, and two upstairs, each being lined with small shops, where all kinds of fancy articles were sold. As a place to lounge in, to walk, and talk, and hear the news, as our American cousins say, the New Exchange succeeded to Paul's Walk; but, with this difference, Paul's Walk was only used by gentlemen; while the shops in the New Exchange being especially devoted to the sale of gloves, perfumes, fans, and other feminine necessities or luxuries, its walks were frequented by the gay and fashionable of both sexes. Many scenes in our old comedies are laid in this place; and most old libraries contain whity-brown pamphlets, entitled News from the New Exchange, or New News from the New Exchange; but as in most of these scurrility and indecency take the place of wit and humour, the less we say about them the better."…

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

New Exchange, a kind of bazaar on the south side of the Strand, was so called in contradistinction to the Royal Exchange; by James I. it was named Britain's Burse. It was built on the site of the stables of Durham House, directly facing what is now Bedford Street, its frontage extending from George Court to Durham Street —or from 52 to 64, according to the present numbering, Messrs. Coutts's bank occupying nearly the centre of the site.
At the Restoration, when London was as large again as it had been in the early part of the reign of James I., Covent Garden became the fashionable quarter of the town—the merchants' wives and daughters aped the manners of the West End ladies—and the New Exchange in the Strand supplanted the Old Exchange in the City. So popular was it at this time that there is scarce a dramatist of the Charles II. era who is without a reference to the New Exchange—one indeed, Thomas Duffet by name, was originally a milliner here before he took to the stage for subsistence. It ceased, however, to be much frequented soon after the death of Queen Anne, and in 1737 it was taken down. A memory of its existence was preserved in Exchange Court immediately opposite.
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

Bill  •  Link

In the Strand; built, under the auspices of James I., in 1608, out of the stables of Durham House, the site of the present Adelphi. The New Exchange stood where Coutts's banking-house now is. "It was built somewhat on the model of the Royal Exchange, with cellars beneath, a walk above, and rows of shops over that, filled chiefly with milliners, sempstresses, and the like."
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin, left us a contemporary description of the New Exchange during his visit in May, 1669.

I've standardized the spelling of names I know, corrected scanning errors I could guess, and increased the number of paragraphs. I apologize if I guessed incorrectly:

... and went to see the New Exchange, which is not far from the place of the Common Garden (Covent Garden) in the great street called the Strand.


The building has a facade of statues, built after the Gothic style, which has lost its color from age, and is become blackish.

It contains two long and double galleries, one above the other, in which are distributed, in several rows, great numbers of very rich shops of drapers and mercers, filled with goods of every kind, and with manufactures of the most beautiful description.

These are, for the most part, under the care of well-dressed women, who are busily employed in work; although many are served by young men, called apprentices, who, in order to qualify themselves for this craft or business, are obliged to serve their master for a certain time, not only in the shop, but in the house and out of doors, at his discretion; nor can they claim any exemption, except on certain specified days in the year, on which, being freed from all subjection towards their masters, they do whatever they choose; and so great is their number, that, in order to prevent the inconveniences which might arise, the government of the city finds it necessary, by a particular provision, to oblige the heads of the houses in every street to keep on foot a certain number of men, armed with spears, at the head of the street, by way of preventing the insolence of the apprentices on the days in which this freedom is allowed them, which are at the Easter and Whitsuntide holidays, and some others, according to the custom of the city, for uniting together to the number of 10,000 (and they are supposed to amount to that number or more) they divide themselves into separate parties, and spread over the different quarters of the city, meditating and frequently accomplishing the annoyance of the public, as it may suit their fancy, taking confidence from their numbers, and from the cudgels which they hold in their hands (the carrying any other sort of weapon being prohibited) and this they push to such an extent, that it frequently happens, that the authority of my Lord Mayor has not been able to restrain their headstrong rashness; and even towards this magistrate they have not unfrequently failed in proper respect, and have treated him with contempt and derision.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link



From the Exchange his highness went in his carriage to the palace of Somerset, ...

For the next installment, see SOMERSET HOUSE


His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.