The Royal Exchange, the incredible history from LIFFE Trading floor to Boutique luxury

The Royal Exchange hidden secrets Luxury Boutiques in the heart of the City of London

The Royal Exchange sits proudly in the financial heart of London, opposite the Bank of England, and perhaps too many passing people, it’s mistaken for the Bank of England. 8 columns stand robust at a busy interchange where some of the oldest most prestigious City streets spiral off in all directions of the compass, Cornhill, Lombard St, Mansion House St, Threadneedle St to name a few. Below the foot 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, 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.

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.

Entrance Exit Royal Exchange
Entrance Exit Royal Exchange

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?

Linked image - LIFFE

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.

Searle Royal Exchange Boutiques
Searle Royal Exchange Boutiques

Church’s Royal Exchange

Church's Royal Exchange
Church’s Royal Exchange

Paul A. Young fine chocolates shop The Royal Exchange Boutiques


Royal Exchange Boutiques Rolex Christmas Watch display


Royal Exchange Boutiques Rolex Christmas Watch display
Royal Exchange Boutiques Rolex Christmas Watch display

Royal Exchange Boutiques Hermès Christmas Window

Halcyon Days Royal Exchange Boutiques Christmas windows


Halcyon Days Royal Exchange Boutiques Christmas display
Halcyon Days Royal Exchange Boutiques Christmas display

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

Royal Exchange Jewellers Rolex sign
Royal Exchange Jewellers Rolex sign

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

Bamford Grooming Department Royal Exchange
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.[7]


bible verse

“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.

Linked Image

Blitz Damage Bank Underground, Royal Exchange (Linked Museum London)

Topolski also sketched this war damage in 1941, this can be seen at the Bank of England Museum.

The Royal Exchange Boutiques Today


Aspinal of London
Bamford Grooming Department

(Bucklesbury & More)
Castle Fine Art
Crockett & Jones
Fortnum and Mason
George Jenson
Halcyon Days
Jo Malone
Leica Camera Ltd

(Louboutin Shoes)

 (Liquid Opulence)

Links of London
Paul A Young Fine Chocolates
Pretty Ballerinas
Royal Exchange Jewellers
Searle and Co Jewellers
Tiffany & Co
Tom Davies
Watches of Switzerland
Watchfinder & Co.

Where is the Royal Exchange in London?

Royal Exchange Buildings, City of London, England, United Kingdom


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