“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. 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.
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.
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.”
Walter Thornbury, ‘The Royal Exchange’, in Old and New London: Volume 1 (London, 1878):
“…During the Civil War the Exchange statue of Charles I. was thrown down, on the 30th of May, 1648, and the premature inscription, “Exit tyrannorum ultimus,” put up in its place, which of course was removed immediately after the Restoration, when a new statue was ordered. The Acts for converting the Monarchy into a Commonwealth were burnt at the Royal Exchange, May 28, 1661, by the hands of the common hangman…
…Mr. Tite at once resolved to design the new building with simple and unbroken lines, like the Paris Bourse, and, as much as possible, to take the Pantheon at Rome as his guide. The portico was to be at the west end, the tower at the east. The first Exchange had been built on piles; the foundations of the third cost £8,124. In excavating for it, the workmen came on what had evidently been the very centre of Roman London. In a gravelpit, which afterwards seemed to have been a pond (perhaps the fountain of a grand Roman court-yard), were found heaps of rubbish, coins of copper, yellow brass, silver, and silver-plated brass, of Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Domitian, &c., Henry IV. of England, Elizabeth, &c., and stores of Flemish, German, Prussian, Danish, and Dutch money. They also discovered fragments of Roman stucco, painted shards of delicate Samian ware, an amphora and terra-cotta lamps (seventeen feet below the surface), glass, bricks and tiles, jars, urns, vases, and potters’ stamps. In the Corporation Museum at the Guildhall, where Mr. Tite deposited these interesting relics, are also fine wood tablets, and styles (for writing on wax) of iron, brass, bone, and wood. There are also in the same collection, from the same source, artificers’ tools and leatherwork, soldiers’ sandals and shoes, and a series of horns, shells, bones, and vegetable remains. Tesselated pavements have been found in Threadneedle Street, and other spots near the Exchange.”