Royal Exchange, London

Last updated
Royal Exchange
Royal Exchange (3624902569).jpg
The Royal Exchange in 2009
Location London, EC3
United Kingdom
Opening date23 January 1571;448 years ago (1571-01-23) (original structure)
28 October 1844;174 years ago (1844-10-28) (current structure)
OwnerOxford Properties Group Inc (since 2013)
No. of stores and services33 stores; 5 restaurants and cafes
ParkingNone
Public transit access Underground no-text.svg DLR no-text roundel.svg Bank-Monument
Website theroyalexchange.co.uk

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. It is trapezoidal in shape 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 building's original design was inspired by a bourse Gresham had seen in Antwerp, the Antwerp bourse, and was Britain's first specialist commercial building.

Richard Clough Welsh businessman

Sir Richard Clough, known by his Welsh contemporaries as Rhisiart Clwch, was a merchant from Denbigh, north-east Wales, and an agent of Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Commerce relates to "the exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale". It includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural and technological systems that operate in a country or in international trade.

City of London City and county in United Kingdom

The City of London is a city and local government district that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the agglomeration has since grown far beyond the City's borders. The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. Administratively, it forms one of the 33 local authority districts of Greater London; however, the City of London is not a London borough, a status reserved for the other 32 districts. It is also a separate county of England, being an enclave surrounded by Greater London. It is the smallest county in the United Kingdom.

Contents

It 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 a Courtyard Grand Cafe, Threadneedle Cocktail Bar, Sauterelle Restaurant, luxury shops, and offices.

Lloyds of London insurance market located in the City of London

Lloyd's of London, generally known simply as Lloyd's, is an insurance and reinsurance market located in London, United Kingdom. Unlike most of its competitors in the industry, it is not an insurance company; rather, Lloyd's is a corporate body governed by the Lloyd's Act 1871 and subsequent Acts of Parliament and operates as a partially-mutualised marketplace within which multiple financial backers, grouped in syndicates, come together to pool and spread risk. These underwriters, or "members", are a collection of both corporations and private individuals, the latter being traditionally known as "Names".

Traditionally, the steps of the Royal Exchange is 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.

Herald historical profession

A herald, or a herald of arms, is an officer of arms, ranking between pursuivant and king of arms. The title is commonly applied more broadly to all officers of arms.

Accession Council

In the United Kingdom, the Accession Council is a ceremonial body which assembles in St James's Palace upon the death of a monarch, to formally proclaim the accession of the successor to the throne. Under the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, a new monarch succeeds automatically. The proclamation merely confirms by name the identity of the heir who has succeeded.

History

The original Royal Exchange in an engraving by Wenceslaus Hollar Wenceslas Hollar - Royal Exchange (State 2).jpg
The original Royal Exchange in an engraving by Wenceslaus Hollar

Richard Clough initially suggested building the exchange in 1562, and oversaw the importing of some of the materials from Antwerp: stone, slate, wainscot and glass, for which he paid thousands of pounds himself. [2] [3] 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. [4] 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. A second complex was built on the site, designed by Edward Jarman and opened in 1669, but that also burned down, on 10 January 1838. [5] It had been used by the Lloyd's insurance market, which was forced to move temporarily to South Sea House following the 1838 fire.

Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 24 March 1603

Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.

Stockbroker professional who buys and sells shares and other securities for both retail and institutional clients

A stockbroker, share broker, registered representative, trading representative, or more broadly, an investment broker, investment adviser, financial adviser, wealth manager, or investment professional is a regulated broker, broker-dealer, or Registered Investment Adviser who may provide financial advisory and investment management services and execute transactions such as the purchase or sale of stocks and other investments to financial market participants in return for a commission, markup, or fee, which could be based on a flat rate, percentage of assets, or hourly rate. Examples of professional designations held by individuals in this field, which affects the types of investments they are permitted to sell and the services they provide include Chartered Financial Consultants, Certified Financial Planners or Chartered Financial Analysts, Chartered Strategic Wealth Professionals, Chartered Financial Planners, and Master of Business Administration. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) provides an online tool designed to help understand professional designations in the United States.

Jonathans Coffee-House

Jonathan's Coffee-House was a significant meeting place in London in the 17th and 18th centuries, famous as the original site of the London Stock Exchange.

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. [6] 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 though trading did not commence until 1 January 1845.

Edward I'Anson was an English architect who was president of both the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Surveyors' Institution. He was a leading designer of commercial buildings in the City of London.

Concrete Composite construction material

Concrete, usually Portland cement concrete, is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens over time—most frequently in the past a lime-based cement binder, such as lime putty, but sometimes with other hydraulic cements, such as a calcium aluminate cement or Portland Cement. It is distinguished from other, non-cementitious types of concrete all binding some form of aggregate together, including asphalt concrete with a bitumen binder, which is frequently used for road surfaces, and polymer concretes that use polymers as a binder.

Richard Westmacott (the younger) English sculptor of the 19th century

Richard Westmacott RA – also sometimes described as Richard Westmacott III – was a prominent English sculptor of the early and mid-19th century.

In June 1844, just before the reopening of the Royal Exchange, a statue of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was unveiled outside the building. The bronze used to cast it was sourced from enemy cannons captured during Wellington's continental campaigns.

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington 18th and 19th-century British soldier and statesman

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, was a British soldier and Tory statesman who was one of the leading military and political figures of 19th-century Britain, serving twice as Prime Minister. His victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 puts him in the first rank of Britain's military heroes.

Cannon Class of artillery which fires at a low or flat trajectory

A cannon is a type of gun classified as artillery that launches a projectile using propellant. In the past, gunpowder was the primary propellant before the invention of smokeless powder during the 19th century. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield. The word cannon is derived from several languages, in which the original definition can usually be translated as tube, cane, or reed. In the modern era, the term cannon has fallen into decline, replaced by guns or artillery if not a more specific term such as mortar or howitzer, except for high calibre automatic weapons firing bigger rounds than machine guns, called autocannons.

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.

Portico and pediment

Detail of the pediment sculpture Flickr - davehighbury - Royal Exchange, London (frieze).jpg
Detail of the pediment sculpture

The western end of the building consists of a portico of eight Corinthian columns topped by a pediment containing a tympanum with a sculptured frieze by Richard Westmacott (the younger). The central figure represents Commerce, above an inscription from the Bible: "The Earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof". The Latin inscription states that the Exchange was founded in the thirteenth year of Queen Elizabeth, and restored in the eighth of Queen Victoria. [7]

Statues

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 C17 courtyard, and Queen Elizabeth I by M. L. 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. [8] [9] [10]

Murals

From 1892, twenty-four scenes from London's history were painted on the first-floor walls by artists including Sir Frederick 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 the war's end, the building had survived the Blitz, albeit with some near misses.

Modern use

The courtyard of the Royal Exchange in 2014 Royal Exchange (14197108939).jpg
The courtyard of the Royal Exchange in 2014

In 1982 the Royal Exchange was in disrepair – particularly 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. Other tenants moved in later and as a result of LIFFE's presence, not only did the City experience growth in trading and greater efficiency in pricing, but also a boost to the area around the Royal Exchange which had hitherto been sleepy at best.

In 2001 the Royal Exchange (interiors and courtyard) was once again extensively remodelled, this time by architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson. Reconstruction of the courtyard created new boutiques and restaurants to add to the existing retailers on the perimeter. The Royal Exchange is now a retail centre with shops, cafes and restaurants. The restaurants include Royal Exchange Grand Cafe, Threadneedle Cockatil Bar and Sauterelle Restaurant (http://www.royalexchange-grandcafe.co.uk/). Shops include Boodles, Hermès, Georg Jensen and Tiffany & Co. In 2003 the Grand Café and Bar was launched and completed the building.

In Royal Exchange Buildings, 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.

In 2013 the Royal Exchange was sold by the Anglo Irish Private Bank to Oxford Properties, a Canadian property company. It had been announced that the site would be sold with a 104-year lease. [11] Oxford Properties Group, a division of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, bought the retail centre for a reported £86.5 million. [12]

See also

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References

  1. grisham.weebly.com; accessed 31 July 2016
  2. [J. W. Burgon Life and Times of Sir Thomas Gresham, 1839.
  3. tudorplace.com; accessed 31 July 2016.
  4. Mason, 1920, p. 11 ff.
  5. Mason, 1920, p. 33 ff. & 43 ff.
  6. 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.
  7. "Victorian London – Buildings, Monuments and Museums – Royal Exchange". Victorian London (The Dictionary of Victorian London). Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  8. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner. The Buildings of England.
  9. Philip Ward-Jackson. The Public Sculpture of the City of London 2003.
  10. Henry Moore Foundation. "Spiller, John". A Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain, 1660–1851 2009.
  11. Shah, Oliver (10 November 2013). "Square Mile landmark to fetch £80m". The Sunday Times .
  12. Waldie, Paul (20 December 2013). "Oxford Properties buys landmark London shopping centre". The Globe and Mail .

Bibliography

Coordinates: 51°30′49″N0°05′14″W / 51.51361°N 0.08722°W / 51.51361; -0.08722