Address: 10 Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7LS

Time: No public entry

Phone: 0207 797 1000

350m from City Thameslink

150m from St Pauls

The London Stock Exchange, like the Bank of England has origins in 17th century coffee shops. Coffee was the new drink of the time and hundreds of shops sprung up, becoming informal places to discuss business.

Business was done in the Royal Exchange building, but famously due to continual rowdiness, the traders were asked to leave. In 1698 John Castaing displayed a list of stock and commodity prices in Jonathan’s Coffee Shop in Exchange Alley and people were attracted.

Despite the 1720 financial crash of the South Sea Bubble and a devastating 1748 fire, business boomed. In 1761 a group of 150 jobbers formed a company in the rebuilt Jonathan’s and in 1773 they moved as a group to their own building in Sweeting’s Alley named New Jonathan’s. In 1801 the group installed an annual membership scheme to regulate traders and it’s from this point in time that the modern Stock Exchange was born. They soon moved to Capel Court and by 1812 had codified their practice, establishing a rule book.

The 20th century saw disruption during the world wars, losing about five months trading in WWI and seven days in WW2. In 1972 the Queen opened a new 26 storey building in Threadneedle St and female members were admitted the next year, the year that all regional offices merged.

The most significant development in modern times was the ‘Big Bang’ of 1986. This signalled a host of changes with deregulation being an important step. Computer trading was another major introduction. In 2004 the Stock Exchange moved to its current location in Paternoster Street, near St Paul’s, finding itself the largest of its kind in Europe and 4th largest in the world after the two New York Exchanges and Tokyo.

Whilst not a tourist attraction, the London Stock Exchange is recognised across the world as one of the most famous London landmarks.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.