The Royal Exchange at Threadneddle Street was originally set up by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1566 in an attempt to supplant the Bourse at Antwerp as the chief European market-place. London merchants met here daily and soon became the centre of the country's industry. Elizabeth I named it the Royal Exchange in 1571.
The building has twice been destroyed by fire but on both occasions it was rebuilt on the same site. Sir William Tite was commissioned to design and build a new Royal Exchange in 1842. It has for a long time been the headquarters of the Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance Group.
The spacious staircases lead to a gallery occupied by the Lord Mayor's court-office, the Royal Exchange assurance office, the merchant's seamen's office, Lloyd's subscription coffee-houses, the rooms appropriated for Gresham lectures, and counting houses for merchants and underwriters. The shops in the lower part of the building are employed by stockbrokers, lottery office keepers and various retail traders.