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

Open location in Google Maps: 51.513667, -0.087141


This text was copied from Wikipedia on 16 June 2024 at 5:11AM.

The Royal Exchange
The west façade of the Royal Exchange from the Bank junction
LocationLondon, United Kingdom
Coordinates51°30′49″N 0°05′14″W / 51.51361°N 0.08722°W / 51.51361; -0.08722
Opening date23 January 1571 (1571-01-23) (original structure)
28 October 1844 (1844-10-28) (current structure)
OwnerThe Ardent Companies (since 2022)
ArchitectSir William Tite
No. of stores and services33 stores; 5 restaurants and cafes
Public transit accessLondon Underground Docklands Light Railway Bank-Monument

The Royal Exchange in London was founded in the 16th century by the merchant Sir Thomas Gresham on the suggestion of his factor Richard Clough to act as a centre of commerce for the City of London.[1] The site was provided by the City of London Corporation and the Worshipful Company of Mercers, who still jointly own the freehold. The original foundation was ceremonially opened by Queen Elizabeth I who granted it its "royal" title. The current neoclassical building has a trapezoidal floor plan and is flanked by Cornhill and Threadneedle Street, which converge at Bank junction in the heart of the city. It lies in the Ward of Cornhill.

The exchange building has twice been destroyed by fire and subsequently rebuilt. The present building was designed by Sir William Tite in the 1840s. The site was notably occupied by the Lloyd's insurance market for nearly 150 years. Today, the Royal Exchange contains restaurants and luxury shops.

Traditionally, the steps of the Royal Exchange are the place where certain royal proclamations (such as the dissolution of parliament) are read out by either a herald or a crier. Following the death or abdication of a monarch and the confirmation of the next monarch's accession to the throne by the Accession Council, the Royal Exchange Building is one of the locations where a herald proclaims the new monarch's reign to the public.


Richard Clough initially suggested building the exchange in 1562, and its original design was inspired by the Antwerp bourse, the world's first purpose-built bourse, with which Thomas Gresham, the representative of the English crown in Antwerp, was familiar, and on which the designs of the bourses of Amsterdam (1611)[2] and Rotterdam would also be based.[3]

It was Britain's first specialist commercial building, and Clough oversaw the importing of some of the materials from Antwerp: stone, slate, wainscot and glass, for which he paid thousands of pounds himself.[4][5] The Royal Exchange was officially opened on 23 January 1571 by Queen Elizabeth I, who awarded the building its royal title and a licence to sell alcohol and valuable goods.[6] Only the exchange of goods took place until the 17th century. Stockbrokers were not allowed into the Royal Exchange because of their rude manners, hence they had to operate from other establishments in the vicinity, such as Jonathan's Coffee-House. Gresham's original building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.[7]

Take a view of the Royal Exchange in London, a place more venerable than many courts of justice, where the representatives of all nations meet for the benefit of mankind. There the Jew, the Mahometan [Muslim], and the Christian transact together, as though they all professed the same religion, and give the name of infidel to none but bankrupts. There the Presbyterian confides in the Anabaptist, and the Churchman depends on the Quaker's word.

— Voltaire's observation of the Royal Exchange in Letters on the English (1733).[8]

A second complex was built on the site, designed by Edward Jarman and opened in 1669. It featured a tall wooden tower over the south entrance in Corn Hill; this eventually fell into disrepair and, in 1821, was replaced by a new stone tower and cupola designed by George Smith. The second Exchange was also burned down on 10 January 1838 in a fire caused by an overheated stove; the blaze was visible from Windsor, 24 miles (39 km) away.[9] It had been used by the Lloyd's insurance market, which was forced to move temporarily to South Sea House following the 1838 fire.[10]

Current building

The third Royal Exchange building, which still stands today, was designed by Sir William Tite and adheres to the original layout–consisting of a four-sided structure surrounding a central courtyard where merchants and tradesmen could do business. The internal works, designed by Edward I'Anson in 1837, made use of concrete—an early example of this modern construction method.[11] It features pediment sculptures by Richard Westmacott (the younger), and ornamental cast ironwork by Henry Grissell's Regent's Canal Ironworks. It was opened by Queen Victoria on 28 October 1844,[12] though trading did not commence until 1 January 1845.[13]

Paul Julius Reuter established the Reuters news agency at No. 1, Royal Exchange Buildings (opposite and to the east of the Royal Exchange) in 1851. It later moved to Fleet Street.[14]

Portico and pediment

Detail of the pedimental sculpture

The western end of the building consists of a portico of eight Corinthian columns topped by a pediment containing a tympanum with relief sculpture by Richard Westmacott (the younger) of seventeen figures representing London merchants and foreign traders. The central allegorical figure represents Commerce, above an inscription chosen by Albert, Prince Consort from Psalm 24: "The Earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof".[9] The Latin inscription on the frieze states:

Anno XIII. Elizabethae R. Conditvm; Anno VIII. Victoriae R. Restavratvm.[9]

or "founded in the thirteenth year of Queen Elizabeth, and restored in the eighth of Queen Victoria".[15]


Chantrey's equestrian statue of Wellington, with the lion of the London Troops Memorial behind.

Two statues stand in niches in the central courtyard. Charles II (a copy of 1792 by John Spiller after Grinling Gibbons' statue in the centre of the 17th century courtyard) and Queen Elizabeth I by Musgrave Watson, 1844. The Charles II statue survived the fire of 1838 that destroyed the previous Exchange. The Elizabeth I statue was commissioned as she was the monarch who had conferred the status "Royal" on the Exchange.[16][17][18]

In front of the portico of the Royal Exchange is a statue of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the last work of Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey. The bronze used to cast it was donated by the government and sourced from French cannons captured during the Napoleonic Wars. It was unveiled on 18 June 1844, the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, in the presence of the King of Saxony.[9]

Between the Wellington statue and the exchange steps is the London Troops Memorial commemorating the dead of military units associated with the City and County of London during the First World War. Designed by Sir Aston Webb, the monument is flanked by two bronze statues of soldiers and surmounted by a lion, all sculpted by Alfred Drury. It was unveiled on 12 November 1920 in the presence of the Duke of York, later King George VI.[19]

The Gresham Grasshopper

The northeast corner of the Royal Exchange, showing the Gresham Grasshopper on top of the clock tower.

The golden Gresham Grasshopper is the Royal Exchange's weathervane and was the crest of the founder, Sir Thomas Gresham. According to legend, a grasshopper's chirps once led to the discovery of a foundling, who became the first of the house of Gresham and the ancestor of Sir Thomas Gresham. The Grasshopper weathervane was rescued from the 1838 fire and is 11 feet (3.4 m) long. It stands 177 feet (54 m) above street level on a clock tower which has a clock by Edward John Dent.[9] A similar grasshopper weathervane on the Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts was made by Shem Drowne in 1742 and was inspired by the London example.[20]


The tower contains a chime of 15 bells all cast by Charles and George Mears of Whitechapel in 1844, with a mechanism that can play God Save the King, The Roast Beef of Old England, Rule Britannia! and Psalm 104.[9] The combined weight of them is 131 cwt. I qr. The original plan was to have the same number of bells as before the fire (nine) but was increased to 15 at the suggestion of Edward John Dent, who, having visited Brussels to obtain information as to the arrangement of carillons, was convinced to recommend that the number so that a greater range of tunes could be played. Professor Taylor advised the committee to increase them to fifteen, which would then allow of playing in three octaves. The largest is also the hour bell, and bears the following inscription Cast for the Royal Exchange in the year of grace 1844; Richard Lambert Jones, Chairman of the Gresham College Committee; Daniel Watney, Master of the Mercers' Company; Ebenezer Trottman, Assistant; William Tite, Architect; Charles and George Mears, founders. The others only bear the words Royal Exchange, 1844.”[21]


Mural depicting King John sealing Magna Carta by Ernest Normand.

From 1892, twenty-four scenes from London's history were painted on the first-floor walls by artists including Sir Frederic Leighton, Sir Frank Brangwyn and Stanhope Forbes. The murals run as a sequence:

  • Phoenicians trading with the early Britons on the coast of Cornwall by Sir Frederic Leighton (1895)
  • Alfred the Great repairing the walls of the City of London by Frank O. Salisbury (1912)
  • William the Conqueror granting a Charter to the Citizens of London by John Seymour Lucas (1898)
  • William II building the Tower of London by Charles Goldsborough Anderson (1911)
  • King John sealing Magna Carta by Ernest Normand (1900)
  • Sir Henry Picard, Master of the Vinters' Company entertaining Kings of England, France, Scotland Denmark & Cyprus by Albert Chevallier Tayler (1903)
  • Sir Richard Whittington dispensing his Charities by Henrietta Rae (1900)
  • Philip the Good presenting the charter to the Merchant Adventurers by Elija A Cox (1916)
  • Henry VI Battle of Barnet 1471, the Trained Bands marching to the support of Edward IV by John Henry Amschewitz (1911)
  • Reconciliation of the Skinners & Merchant Taylors' Companies by Lord Mayor Billesden, 1484 by Edwin Austin Abbey (1904)
  • The Crown offered to Richard III at Baynard's Castle by Sigismund Goetze (1898)
  • The Foundation of St Paul's School, 1509 by William Frederick Yeames (1905)
  • The Opening the first Royal Exchange by Queen Elizabeth I by Ernest Crofts (1899)
  • Charles I demanding the Five Members at the Guildhall, 1641–42 by Solomon Joseph Solomon (1897)
  • The Great Fire of London, 1666 by Stanhope Forbes (1899)
  • Founding of the Bank of England, 27 July 1694 by George Harcourt (1904)
  • Nelson leaving Portsmouth, 18 May 1803 by Andrew Carrick Gow (1903)
  • Destruction of the Second Royal Exchange in 1838 by Stanhope Forbes (1899)
  • Opening of the Royal Exchange by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, 28 October 1844 by Robert Walker Macbeth (1895)
  • Women's Work in the Great War, 1914–1918 by Lucy Kemp-Welch (1922)
  • Blocking of Zeebrugge Waterway, St George's Day, 23 April 1918 by William Lionel Wyllie (1920)
  • Their Majesties King George V & Queen Mary visiting the Battle Districts in France, 1917 by Frank O. Salisbury (1917)
  • National Peace Thanksgiving Service on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral, 6 July 1919 by Frank O. Salisbury (1919)
  • Modern Commerce by Sir Frank Brangwyn (1906)

With the outbreak of the Second World War, trading at the Royal Exchange virtually ended. At war's end, the building had survived the Blitz, albeit with some near misses.

Modern use

The courtyard of the Royal Exchange in 2019

In 1982 the Royal Exchange was in disrepair – in particular, the glass roof was in danger of collapse. The newly formed London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE) was the main tenant, using the courtyard for the trading floor, all done without touching the framework of the original building. Liffe moved to Cannon Bridge in 1991.[22][23]

In 2001 the Royal Exchange (interiors and courtyard) was once again extensively remodelled, this time by architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson. The works involved the restoration of the fabric of the building, a two floor office extension and replacement of the roof above the courtyard.[24]

In a lane by the eastern entrance to the Royal Exchange, stand two statues: one of Paul Julius Reuter who founded his news agency there, and one of George Peabody who founded the Peabody Trust and a business which became J.P. Morgan & Co.[25]

In 2013 a lease of Royal Exchange was sold by Anglo Irish Bank to Oxford Properties, a Canadian property company. It had been announced that the site would be sold with a 104-year lease.[26] Oxford Properties Group, a division of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, bought the retail centre for a reported £86.5 million.[27] In October 2022, Ardent UK acquired the retail element of the Exchange from Oxford Properties Group for around £50 million.[28]

See also


  1. ^; accessed 31 July 2016
  2. ^ "The exchange of Hendrick de Keyser". Exchange History NL.
  3. ^ Ormrod, David (2003). The Rise of Commercial Empires: England and the Netherlands in the Age of Mercantilism, 1650-1770. Cambridge University Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-0521819268.
  4. ^ Burgon, John William (1839). The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Gresham. London: Robert Jennings.
  5. ^; accessed 31 July 2016.
  6. ^ Mason, 1920, p. 11 ff.
  7. ^ Mason, 1920, p. 33 ff
  8. ^ Voltaire, François Marie Arouet de. (1909–1914) [1734]. "Letter VI – On the Presbyterians. Letters on the English". The Harvard Classics. Retrieved 4 May 2024.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Thornbury, Walter (1878). "The Royal Exchange". Old and New London: Volume I. London: Cassell, Petter, & Galpin. pp. 494–513. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  10. ^ Townsend, George Henry (1862). The Manual of Dates: a Dictionary of Reference to All the Most Important Events in the History of Mankind to be Found in Authentic Records. Routledge, Warne, & Routledge. p. 496.
  11. ^ Collins, Peter (April 2004). Concrete: the vision of a new architecture. McGill-Queen's Press – MQUP. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-7735-2564-1. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
  12. ^ See this opening described in Queen Victoria's letter to Leopold I on the next day.
  13. ^ Paroissien, David (2000). The Companion to Great Expectations. Greenwood Press. p. 208. ISBN 978-0313318009.
  14. ^ "Company history". Thomson Reuters. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
  15. ^ "Victorian London – Buildings, Monuments and Museums – Royal Exchange". Victorian London (The Dictionary of Victorian London). Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  16. ^ Sir Nikolaus Pevsner. The Buildings of England.
  17. ^ Philip Ward-Jackson. The Public Sculpture of the City of London 2003.
  18. ^ Henry Moore Foundation. "Spiller, John". A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660–1851 2009.
  19. ^ "MEN OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF LONDON". Imperial War Museum. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  20. ^ Dean, John Ward, ed. (1895). The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 49. Boston MA: New England Historic Genealogy Society. p. 24.
  21. ^ "Bells and Chimes of the Royal Exchange". Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  22. ^ "Royal Exchange - Hidden London".
  23. ^ "London's Royal Exchange |". Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  24. ^ "Royal Exchange". Aukett Swanke. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
  25. ^ Ward-Jackson, Philip (2003). Public Sculpture of the City of London. Public Sculpture of Britain. Vol. 7. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. pp. 338–341. ISBN 0853239673.
  26. ^ Shah, Oliver (10 November 2013). "Square Mile landmark to fetch £80m". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013.
  27. ^ Waldie, Paul (20 December 2013). "Oxford Properties buys landmark London shopping centre". The Globe and Mail.
  28. ^ "Ardent UK and Oxford Properties complete Royal Exchange deal". React News. Retrieved 28 October 2022.


External links

14 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Miller  •  Link

Royal Exchange, in Cornhill, L. First founded, as also Gresham College in Bishopsgate street, by Sir Thomas Gresham, a rich Merchant.
W. Stow 1722

Glyn  •  Link

The Royal Exchange is now open to members of the public and free to enter. The current location is exactly as in Pepys' time but this is a later building. It is very impressive from an architectural point of view particularly (in my opinion) the immensely high glass ceiling that covers the whole courtyard.

It is now the home of several luxurious shops - which seems apt - but the central court has a place to sit and have a cup of coffee, just as Sam would have done.

(And afterwards, visit the Bank of England museum which is just across the road - free to enter, and not widely known about.)

Terry F  •  Link

"Early on in the [16th] century Antwerp had become the great storehouse of Europe, but it was destroyed in 1576 when the people of the Low Countries rose up against the Spanish.

"London merchants and financiers took advantage of this to make London the new commercial and financial centre of Europe. The greatest of these was Sir Thomas Gresham (1517/18–79), advisor to Elizabeth I.

"Gresham was chiefly responsible for establishing the Royal Exchange in 1565. It soon became a symbol of London's wealth and power."
Interior of the original Royal Exchange, c. 1569.…

"The Royal Exchange was built at the junction of Cornhill and Threadneedle Street in the City. It was a meeting place for merchants and brokers and became the centre of London's business life.

"Space was also provided for over 100 shops within its courtyard. The original building was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.

"A second Exchange opened in 1669. Much of the property was taken over by Royal Exchange Assurance and Lloyd's of London."
Front of the Royal Exchange
Creator: Samuel Wale (artist), John Green (engraver) Date: 1761 Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London…

Terry F  •  Link

The Royal Exchange on Gresham's plan and when rebuilt consisted of “a four-sided structure surrounding a central courtyard where merchants and tradesmen could do business.”…)

Terry F  •  Link

The Royal Excange building was twice destroyed by fire but on both occasions was rebuilt on the same site. Near the center of this segment of the 1746 map, it sits prominently right of the intersection of Cornhill and Threadneedle.…

Pedro  •  Link

SIR THOMAS GRESHAM and the Exchange.

In the Royal Exchange of London, however, he raised a more lasting memorial of his wealth and generosity. In 1566, the site on the north side of Cornhill was bought for £3500, and upon it Sir Thomas Gresham built the Exchange. Its materials, as well as its architect, are stated to have been brought from Flanders, and the Burse at Antwerp would seem to have suggested the model. The plan was a quadrangular arcade, with an interior cloister. On the Cornhill front, there was a tower for a bell, which was rung at noon and at six in the evening; and on the north side there was a Corinthian column, which, as well as the tower, was surmounted by a grasshopper the family crest. On the 23rd January 1570, Queen Elizabeth dined at Gresham's house, and visited this new building, which she was pleased to name 'The Royal Exchange.' The shops or stalls in the galleries above the cloister, and surrounding the open court, were, in Gresham's time, occupied by milliners and haberdashers (who sold mouse traps, bird cages, shoe horns, lanterns, and other heterogeneous commodities), armourers, apothecaries, booksellers, goldsmiths, and dealers in glass.
The open court below must have presented a curious scene when it was filled by the merchants of different nations, in the picturesque dresses of their respective countries…

Pedro  •  Link


The grasshopper of the Royal Exchange is the vane which surmounted the former Exchange. It is of copper-gilt, eleven feet long, and represents the crest of Sir Thomas Gresham, the founder of the first Exchange. But the old civic tradition that this was adopted as an heraldic symbol, from a grasshopper having saved his life when he was a poor famished boy, by attracting a person to the spot where he lay in a helpless condition,--is not supported by fact; since the letters of Sir Thomas Gresham's father, which are in the Paston collection, bear a seal with the grasshopper. This was likewise the sign of Gresham, placed over the door of his banking-house and goldsmith's shop, in Lombard-street: this grass-hopper, which was of large size and gilt, existed entire until the year 1795, when the house, now No. 68, was rebuilt.

(Book of Days)

Australian Susan  •  Link

Martin's Bank

This was once a widespread Bank in the UK, but was swallowed by Barclays. It had the grasshopper as it's sign (or logo nowadays) and was said to have been founded by Sir Thomas G. Here is some information…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Wenceslaus Hollar (Czech/British 1607-1677)

View of the courtyard of Gresham's Royal Exchange enclosed within frame, full of people including two Muscovy merchants in fur caps and a woman ballad seller; three sides of colonnade supporting first floor with niches and statues of English kings; square tower with two balconies and bell turret seen above roofs in the background to left; text by Henry Peacham within cartouche held by two angels above.
Etching, 1644.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Byrsa Londinensis, vulgo The Royall Exchange of London (1644). Etching (2nd state of three) by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607–1677), showing an English woman selling broadsheets (in the foreground at left).…

View an enlarged 2490 x 1874 pixel JPG image (683KB)…

This view, facing west, of the first Royal Exchange (on the site of the present Exchange at the junction of Threadneedle Street and Cornhill, with Cornhill seen through the south door on the left), is our best visual record of the building which opened in 1569 and was destroyed a century later in the Fire of London in 1666.

London’s first Royal Exchange was built in 1566–7 by Sir Thomas Gresham (whose portrait medallion hangs from the cartouche), using a Flemish architect, and was modeled on the Bourse in Antwerp. “On the first floor, above the cloisters, was The Pawn — rows of stalls selling all manner of fine and rare commodities. In the niches over the arcading stood the statues of the English monarchs from the time of Edward the Confessor,” with 3 vacant niches. The statue “most clearly visible on the right, that of Charles I, was torn down after his execution in 1649, and its pedestal inscribed with the words ‘Exit tyrannus regum ultimus’ — ‘The tyrant is gone, the last of the kings.’ On the corners of the building, and on the tower, stood gigantic grasshoppers, the crest of the Greshams.” (Parry, Hollar’s England: A Mid-Seventeenth-Century View, n. pag.)

The Royal Exchange was the center of British commercial activity, and Hollar here emphasizes the urban bustle of its courtyard to give the viewer a true sense of place. “The merchants who crowded its Italianate courtyard represented trading interests from all over Europe and beyond. ‘At every turn, a man is put in mind of Babel, there is such a confusion of languages,’ wrote Dekker in 1607. Hollar’s eye for national costume enables us to catch something of the internationalism of the scene: two Muscovite merchants in their furred caps stand in the left foreground, turbaned Turks are in the centre of the crowd, and representatives from Antwerp and Amsterdam, Venice and Vienna, are distinguishable.” (Parry, Hollar’s England: A Mid-Seventeenth-Century View, n. pag.)

Verses in the cartouche by Henry Peacham characterize London’s Royal Exchange as superior to the Antwerp Bourse, “where / But emptines is seene or trifles sold.” London’s own “Modell of Magnificence” carries “rare or rich” goods from around the world: “Arabian odors,” “Silkes from Serres,” “Pearles, Sables, fine linnen[,] Jewels” and other luxury items. Of note, Peacham doesn’t here advertise the availability of broadsides, the sale of which Hollar depicts so prominently.

Hollar’s Byrsa Londinensis was reissued in 1668, with the English arms in place of the dedication (3rd state of three), in an effort to capitalize on the growing interest in scenes of London “in its flourishing condition before the fire” (phrasing from Hollar’s 1666 print, A True and Exact Prospect of the Famous Citty of London with its before and after views “taken from the same place”)

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

The first Royal Exchange was founded by Sir Thomas Gresham; the first stone was laid June 7, 1566, and the building opened by Queen Elizabeth in person, January 23, 1570-1571.
The materials for the construction of the Exchange were brought from Flanders, or, as Holinshed has it, Gresham "bargained for the whole mould and substance of his workmanship in Flanders," and a Flemish builder of the name of Henryke was employed.
In general design the Exchange was not unlike the Burse at Antwerp —a quadrangle, with a cloister running round the interior of the building, a corridor or "pawn " above, and attics or bedrooms at the top.
On the south or Cornhill front was a bell-tower, and on the north a lofty Corinthian column, each surmounted by a grasshopper—the crest of the Greshams. The bell, in Gresham's time, was rung at twelve at noon and at six in the evening. In niches within the quadrangle, and immediately above the cloister or covered walk, stood the statues of our kings and queens, from Edward the Confessor to Queen Elizabeth. James I., Charles I., and Charles II. were afterwards added. Charles I.'s statue was thrown down immediately after his execution, and on the pedestal these words were inscribed in gilt letters, Exit tyrannus Regum ultimas - "The tyrant is gone, the last of the Kings." Hume concludes his History of Charles I. with this little anecdote of City disaffection, which no doubt was in Addison's mind when he made his Tory fox-hunter satisfied that the London merchants had not turned republicans "when he spied the statue of King Charles II. standing up in the middle of the crowd, and most of the Kings in Baker's Chronicle ranged in order over their heads."
Gresham's Exchange was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. Pepys describes its appearance as "a sad sight, nothing standing there of all the statues or pillars, but Sir Thomas Gresham in the corner."
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

By 1667 the rebuilding of London is under way:

Even Ralph Josselin in Essex knows "the. 23. day. the King laid the first stone of the exchange"
A picture showing how the rebuilt Exchange:…

"Opened three years later by Lord Mayor, the second exchange thrived with merchants and brokers including those of the insurance market, Lloyds of London. With stockbrokers banned for their offensive behaviour, other brokers required a government license to trade and their numbers were controlled. The Royal Exchange had provided the foundations for a regulated stock market. In 1838 the building was destroyed, again by fire.

"The present Royal Exchange building, opened by Queen Victoria in 1844, .... Keeping to the original 16th century layout of a four-sided building surrounding a central courtyard the design included an imposing eight-column portico, inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, with the other sides of the building based on Italian renaissance models."…

So the current Exchange is in the same location as Gresham and Charles II's Exchanges. I wonder who paid for all this feasting ... James and Rupert got parties as well:

"On the 23rd of October, Charles II laid the base of the column on the west side of the north entrance; after which he was plentifully regaled "with a chine of beef, grand dish of fowle, gammons of bacon, dried tongues, anchovies, caviare, &c., and plenty of several sorts of wine. He gave twenty pounds in gold to the workmen. The entertainment was in a shed, built and adorned on purpose, upon the Scotch Walk." Pepys has given some account of this interesting ceremony in his Diary, where we read, "Sir W. Pen and I back to London, and there saw the King with his kettle-drums and trumpets, going to the Exchange, which, the gates being shut, I could not get in to see. So, with Sir W. Pen to Captain Cockes, and thence again towards Westminster; but, in my way, stopped at the Exchange, and got in, the King being nearly gone, and there find the bottom of the first pillar laid. And here was a shed set up, and hung with tapestry, and a canopy of state, and some good victuals, and wine for the King, who, it seems, did it."

¶James ...Duke of York, laid the first stone of the eastern column on the 31st of October. He was regaled in the same manner as the King had been; and on the 18th of November following, Prince Rupert laid the first stone of the east side of the south entrance, and was entertained by the City and company in the same place." (Vide "Journals of the House of Commons.")"…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In the 1600s, the Dutch, British, and French governments all gave charters to companies with East India in their names. On the cusp of imperialism's high point, it seems like everyone had a stake in the profits from the East Indies and Asia except the people living there.

Sea voyages bringing back goods from the East were extremely risky — on top of Barbary pirates, there were the more common risks of weather and poor navigation.

To lessen the risk of a lost ship ruining their fortunes, ship owners had long been in the practice of seeking investors who would put up money for the voyage —outfitting the ship and crew in return for a percentage of the proceeds if the voyage was successful. These early limited liability companies often lasted for only a single voyage. They were then dissolved, and a new one was created for the next voyage. Investors spread their risk by investing in several different ventures at the same time, thereby playing the odds against all of them ending in disaster.

[By Pepys; day they could also negotiate some sort of insurance – see… - BOTTOMRY………………
and probably more]

When the East India companies were formed, they changed the way business was done. These companies issued stock that would pay dividends on all the proceeds from all the voyages the companies undertook, rather than going voyage by voyage. These were the first modern joint-stock companies. This allowed the companies to demand more for their shares and build larger fleets. The size of the companies, combined with royal charters forbidding competition, meant huge profits for investors.

FROM: Reinhold C. Mueller. "The Venetian Money Market: Banks, Panics, and the Public Debt, 1200-1500," Download Full Book, Pages 403-406. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019.…

Lombard Street has its origins in one of the main Roman roads of Londinium. It later formed a plot of land granted by King Edward I (1272–1307) to the Lombard bankers, merchants and lenders from northern Italy (a larger area than the modern Lombardy region).
Lloyd's Coffee House, which eventually became the global insurance market Lloyd's of London, moved to Lombard Street … from Tower Street in 1691.…

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