The Royal Exchange

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.

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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.

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The building has an imposing, eight-column entrance inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.

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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.

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Today the Royal Exchange contains a Grand Cafe in the centre where swanky businessmen do top deals over a glass of champagne.

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A Cocktail bar for the fashionable ladies of the city.

An array of designer luxury stores for your retail therapy.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Today, The Royal Exchange continues to remain true to its retail roots. Unique in the City, it remains one of London’s finest landmarks.

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http://www.theroyalexchange.co.uk

 

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28 thoughts on “The Royal Exchange

  1. I really enjoyed this! I love historical places, and this one really put up a fight to stand its ground! I’m glad that they chose to restore the building instead of wiping it out and building something different. The inside is just gorgeous, you have some very lovely photographs! Thank you for sharing, I look forward to visiting the Royal Exchange some day 😀

  2. I’ve never been inside the Royal Exchange in London. What an amazing transformation from its original roots to the new use as a shopping and dining destination. It still looks like it was an awesome building, so I am so glad when I hear of these new uses for historical buildings!

  3. Wow. The royal exchange sure looks like it needs to be on my list. The Greek architecture is very reminescent of the Acropolis and most of the temples in Athens. Also loved the detail on the Pedement. Stunning indeed!

  4. Love the post. Definitely checking it out when am in London next. Its amazing to see how the Royal Exchange has been revamped, and now has high end luxurious stores and bars.

  5. I used to work in the vicinity and I must admit that I didn’t know the whole story behind this beautiful building! Well done on putting together such an informative article 🙂

    • I always passed it and never paid attention unless one day I stepped inside and started finding out more about it.

  6. The Grand Cafe at the Royal Exchange looks like my kind of place to hangout all day long with my laptop! I’ve been to London a couple times in the past few years but never have I been told to visit the Royal Exchange.

    I’m very much glad I stumbled on this post – will give me a new to do list the next time i’m in town!

  7. At first I thought that the Royal Exchange was kind of stock exchange or financial building, no wonder, the design is modelled on the world’s oldest financial exchange! 🙂 What a building! Must be a royal experience to have cocktails or shop or window shop at such a spectacular historical landmark! Its amazing how it has been maintained after the great fire! I have been to London twice. How I wish I had known about this. Another reason to plan a visit!

  8. Royal Exchange really looks like an elegant piece of architecture. It looks grand majestic building which is inspired by Roman architecture. I would love to take tour of luxury shopping arena and fine dining at this place. As it has been associated with history and grand too, this place is truly worth visiting in London.

  9. Yeah! The first thing I was reminded of was Bourse in Brussels! Pretty close guess….
    Its so sad that so many buildings were lost in the Great Fire. I remember asking the people at Ranger’s House Greenwich how they escaped the Great Fire! Somehow fire didn’t spread all the way there!

  10. The Royal Exchange is a stunning building, inside and out. I never knew it was based on the building in Antwerp, nor the history behind it either. It looks very luxurious inside; I’m sure a glass of champagne would go down well here.

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