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One of the famous landmarks of the City of London is Royal Exchange. It is located near the residence of the Mayor of the City and the Bank of England.
The construction of the exchange began at the initiative of London merchants who needed a place to conduct business negotiations and conclude transactions. Before they got their own club, they had to discuss trade deals right on the street or in the taverns nearby. Funds were required for the construction of the exchange building, and they were provided by the financial adviser of Elizabeth I - Sir Thomas Grisham. The construction site was allocated by the City of London Corporation and the Pious Guild of Merchants.
The first building of the Royal Exchange stood until the 17th century, when it was destroyed by fire. The second building that Jarman rebuilt it was again destroyed by fire in the 19th century. The exchange, as we see it in modern times, appeared already in the 19th century thanks to the efforts of the architect William Tyt and the desire of Queen Victoria.
Since the Royal Exchange was intended for business meetings, the building was decorated quite strictly. Its design resembles the Antwerp stock exchange, where Grisham had to visit.
The facade of the building attracts with features of English classicism, the pediment is a wonderful work of Westmacott, which depicts the Trade and merchants who honor it. The modern stock exchange building inherited the general layout from the previous ones. The main part of the building is a large glazed courtyard decorated with a colonnade. On the walls of the courtyard are paintings by English masters of the 19th and early 20th centuries, depicting scenes from the history of England. Traditionally, a tower was erected here, in a niche of which you can find a statue of the founder of the exchange, Thomas Grisham. The spire of the tower is decorated with Grisham's emblem - a large weather vane in the form of a gilded grasshopper. This weather vane is known to all Londoners.
Grisham argued that merchants are as needed by the exchanges as ships need sea water. He turned out to be right, pretty soon after the opening of the Royal Exchange, the British could freely compete with Antwerp. Together with trading transactions, the exchange began to carry out operations with shares and government securities.
The Royal Exchange successfully existed until 1923. It was replaced by the Stock Exchange, which functions to this day. The old exchange building is visited by many tourists. They are attracted by the architectural features of the building and, of course, by the history of this place. Inside the building, you can see frescoes on various themes. Now the Royal Exchange building is a small shopping center where you can enjoy shopping in boutiques Prada, Hugo Boss and Paul Smith.
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