A historic monumental building in the heart of London, filled with history fashion and gastronomical delights. The more I found out about its past the more interesting it got.
The Royal Exchange was officially opened on the 23 January 1571 by Queen Elizabeth I who awarded the building its royal title and a licence to sell alcohol.
The building has an imposing, eight-column entrance inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.
The building has been destroyed twice by fire since it was first built and the present building was designed by William Tite in the 1840s.
The Royal Exchange was the first purpose-built centre for trading stocks in London. It is modelled on the Bourse in Antwerp, the world’s oldest financial exchange, where Gresham had been based as a royal agent.
Today the Royal Exchange contains a Grand Cafe in the centre where swanky businessmen do top deals over a glass of champagne.
A Cocktail bar for the fashionable ladies of the city.
An array of designer luxury stores for your retail therapy.
The steps of the Royal Exchange was aplace where royal proclamations were read out.
The original building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. A second complex was built on the site and opened in 1669, but that also burned down.
The site was notably occupied by the Lloyd’s insurance market for nearly 150 years which was forced to move out following the 1838 fire.
Stockbrokers were not allowed into the Royal Exchange because of their rude manners.
The proclamation of King Edward VII took place on 23 January 1901 at The Royal Exchange, mere days after the death of Queen Victoria. Throughout its history, the building served as an important rallying point for the Empire.
Trading is suspended following the outbreak of World War II. The Royal Exchange survives, albeit with damage caused in 1941 by bombing during the Blitz. After the war, the traders move out, leaving the building in a state of disuse for several decades.
In the 1980s, The Royal Exchange briefly returns to its trading past when the London International Financial Futures Exchange moves in. During this time, the rotting Victorian roof is replaced and two floors of new offices are added.
2001, transformed into a luxury shopping and dining destination. Though an entirely different building from his original design, the modern-day The Royal Exchange pays homage to its founder in its gilded copper grasshopper weathervane – a symbol taken from the Gresham family crest.
Today, The Royal Exchange continues to remain true to its retail roots. Unique in the City, it remains one of London’s finest landmarks.