Craig recommends… Here’s my latest Royal Exchange review. The other great buildings next to the Royal Exchange are the Bank of England and Mansion House. More nearby landmarks that are worth visiting are Christopher Wren’s Monument, Leadenhall Market and the Lord Mayor’s Guildhall.
The Royal Exchange is a Roman-looking building with eight Corinthian colonnades out the front, which stands opposite the Bank of England. It may look out-of-bounds to tourists, but it is actually just a public space with shops, offices and restaurants inside.
The original Royal Exchange was founded by Thomas Gresham in 1568 as a place for traders to gather together and buy and sell their goods. In later centuries it attracted traders of another kind: the ones who dabbled in stocks and shares.
The original building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London, and its replacement lasted until the year 1838. The building that we see today dates from the reign of Queen Victoria.
It continued as a market for nearly 350 years, until it was taken over by the International Financial Futures Exchange in the 1990s. When they moved out in 2000 the building was re-opened as an expensive shopping mall.
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