For many, The Royal Exchange symbolises the financial heart of London, located opposite the Bank of England and perhaps even to many visitors it’s mistaken for the Bank of England. Its 8 columns standing robust at a busy interchange where some of the oldest most prestigious City streets spiral off in all directions, Cornhill, Lombard St, Mansion House St, Threadneedle St to name a few. Below ground sits the Bank Underground Station complex. No mistaking you are in the city now. Inside you will discover the secret. Boutique luxury, some of the biggest brands in the world can be found here, but it wasn’t always that way.
Selling luxury goods since the Late 1600s boutiques at the Royal Exchange have been open for business since the late 1600s, even the Queen was a first adopter.
The meaning of ‘Exchange’ in the Royal Exchange?
The word ‘Exchange’ in ‘Royal Exchange’ refers to centre of commerce, a trading place for merchants (local or international). The Fabrique of Britain has always been based on trade, the City of London carries this ethos to its core.
The Royal connection
Queen Elizabeth 1st opened the Royal Exchange in 1571, awarding the name “The Royal Exchange” to be used for selling alcohol and luxury goods which continues up to today. Sir Thomas Gresham who took the idea to add a shopping mall area as early as 1660.
The Royal Exchange destroyed by Fire twice
There have been three Royal Exchange built on the site. The First design concept of the Royal Exchange started by Richard Clough early 1560’s and Sir Thomas Gresham in 1566. In 1666 the great fire of London destroyed the first Royal Exchange. The second Royal Exchange building was a Baroque-inspired style by Edward Jerman in 1669, ironically around 200 years later fire in 1838 destroyed the 2nd Royal Exchange building.
Queen Victoria opened the 3rd Royal Exchange 1844, which survived World War 1 and World War 2 and still stands today.
Design influences changed through time too, but then seemed to come full circle. The first was inspired by a Belgian building in Antwerp called De Beurs, if you are a Flander or Bourse in French Dialect. Thomas Gresham had been involved with this building at the time. It was a stock exchange too and built circa 1531 Neo-Gothic style. It was considered the first stock exchange type building in the world and it was not just London who gained inspiration from its design. It too was affected by fire in 1858 and reconstructed in 1871.
A View inside the current Royal Exchange which shows off the design influences explained above
1980s, LIFFE trading floor at the Royal Exchange
For a brief glimpse of the story of this building, in the early 1980s the London International Financial Futures Exchange set up business here. The telephones have gone; they have hung the multi-colored jackets up, but the building lives on.
Linked image of the LIFFE Trading floor in full action, recognise the arches in the background?
Pantheon in Italy or the Royal Exchange?
The third Royal Exchange design took its style from the Pantheon in Rome with 8 proud pillars. Sir William Tite used some original designs and ideas from the first building.
Photographic moments in time 1901 When Queen Victoria died her son was proclaimed King Edward VII on the steps of the Royal Exchange.
London Troops War Memorial unveiled in 1920 infront of the Royal Exchange
The Memorial that also now serves WW1 & WW2. Two Servicemen figures facing North and South. A Royal Artillery statue and an Infantry statue The Royal Fusiliers.Sculpture Alfred Drury.
London’s finest Boutique Royal Exchange Christmas Displays
Searle Royal Exchange Boutiques. Antique Vintage Jewellery & Silverware
Some 125 yrs in London. Member of FIRV Fellow Institute of Recognised Valuers. (FGA and DGA) Fellows of Gemmological and Diamond Gemmological Association. Selling items with gemstones and operating a repair service.
Church’s Royal Exchange
Paul A. Young fine chocolates shop The Royal Exchange Boutiques
Royal Exchange Boutiques Rolex Christmas Watch display
Royal Exchange Boutiques Hermès Christmas Window
Halcyon Days Royal Exchange Boutiques Christmas windows
SageBrown London Royal Exchange Boutiques Winter window
High-quality luxury leather goods for Ladies and Gentlemen. Bespoke items, personalisation. Lifetime service warranty. A range of styles colours and leathers. Family run business. Over 25 years experience. We know the British-based brand for its elegance, sophistication, both classic and modern designs.
Pretty Ballerinas Boutique Royal Exchange
Footwear mainly known for its flat heeled ballerina styles, but they do other shapes of shoes also. This brand opened its first store online in 2005 and in Mayfair London in 2007 and eventually at the Royal Exchange. Other Countries soon opened their stores. The Company made footwear since 1918 family business in the Mediterranean Menorca Island. The Flat shoes are named after famous Actresses or Singers to enable customers to find and remember their style. Many A-Listers have been associated with the brand. Kylie Minogue, Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, Elle McPherson, Linsay Lohan, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie to name but a few.
Royal Exchange Jewellers
The unusual tall gates of the Royal Exchange
L’Occitane Royal Exchange Boutiques
Jo Malone Royal Exchange Boutiques Christmas shop window
Melissa Odabash Royal Exchange Boutiques
Seen in Vogue we know this American Fashion designer for creating the Ferraris of Swimwear. Celebrities and Royalty have been seen wearing these garments from Catherine Duchess of Cambridge to Music star Beyoncé, Sienna Miller, Rhianna, Rosie Huntington Whitely, Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts were also seen in swimwear on the silver screen. The Designer created unisex hats to support the Charity entitled Elton John AIDS Foundation. International recognition.
Watches of Switzerland Royal Exchange Boutiques
Castle Fine Art Boutique Royal Exchange
Ceiling decor Royal Exchange Boutiques
Leica Camera shop window winter Royal Exchange Boutiques
Entrances The Royal Exchange Boutiques
Wine Boutique Royal Exchange
Mont Blanc Royal Exchange Boutiques
Tateossian Royal Exchange Boutiques
The first store opened in 1990 Designer unique jewellery and accessories for men and women . Meticulously crafted items that mix traditional precious materials, such as gold, diamonds and gemstones, with unusual materials such as copper nuggets, meteorites, dinosaur bones. The Creativity and innovation behind the designs result in unique items that are now known globally.
Links Royal Exchange Boutiques
Advertised as an Iconic Jewellery brand with an international presence. Their story started around 1990 with a bespoke request for a fish-shaped set of cufflinks. Statement watches and exquisite Jewellery for Men and Women. Attention to detail in the personalisation of their items including engraving and well-presented gift wrapping.
Bucklesbury and More Royal Exchange Boutiques Leather Goods and Accessories
You distinctively pick up what the brand means when they say “Combining the Artisan with Artistry”. Pioneers behind the women’s Attaché case that enabled women to have an all in one feminine and business functionality to their design. British Designs that are hand made in Italy. Traditional methods, classic designs with contemporary twists. Featured in “The Lady ” and “The English Home”. Italian Leather in a range of stunning shades, including Crocodile texture. It was so tempting to get a close up of these beautiful items, but we were discreet in being at a distance.
Penhaligons Royal Exchange Boutiques
Aspinal of London Royal Exchange Boutiques
Tom Davies Bespoke Opticians Royal Exchange Boutiques
Crockett & Jones Royal Exchange Boutiques
Bamford Grooming Department Royal Exchange
Louboutin Shoes Royal Exchange Boutiques
Smythson Royal Exchange Boutiques
Liquid Opulence Royal Exchange
Portico Pediment a Tympanum with a sculpture Frieze artist Richard Westmacott
The Latin inscription states that the Exchange was founded in the thirteenth year of Queen Elizabeth, and restored in the eighth of Queen Victoria.
“The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof”.
Historical Images of the Royal Exchange, World War 2
During World War 2 on the 10th January 1941, the Bank Underground station was hit during an air raid. The bomb hit the road junction in front of the Royal Exchange with devastating consequences. A photograph of this is owned by the Museum of London Photographer/ Artist Arthur Cross Fred Tibbs. Linked here.
Topolski also sketched this war damage in 1941, this can be seen at the Bank of England Museum.
The Royal Exchange Boutiques Today
THE ROYAL EXCHANGE
BANK, CITY OF LONDON, EC3V 3LR
Aspinal of London
Bamford Grooming Department
(Bucklesbury & More)
Castle Fine Art
Crockett & Jones
Fortnum and Mason
Leica Camera Ltd
Links of London
Paul A Young Fine Chocolates
Royal Exchange Jewellers
Searle and Co Jewellers
Tiffany & Co
Watches of Switzerland
Watchfinder & Co.
Where is the Royal Exchange in London?