Last week, I had a business meeting at one of London’s most famous landmarks- the Royal Exchange.
The Royal Exchange officially opened on 23 January 1571 by Queen Elizabeth I who awarded the building its royal title and a license to sell alcohol. Only the exchange of goods took place and up until the 17th century stockbrokers were not allowed into the Royal Exchange because of their rude manners, they had to operate from other establishments in the vicinity, such as Jonathan’s Coffee-House.
The present building was designed by William Tite in the 1840s. The site was notably occupied by the the famous Lloyd’s insurance market for nearly 150 years. The building has been destroyed by fire, not once but twice and was rebuilt both times.
In 2001 the Royal Exchange was once again extensively remodeled, this time by architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson. Reconstruction of the courtyard created new boutiques and restaurants to add to the existing retailers on the perimeter. The Royal Exchange is now a retail centre with shops, cafes and restaurants. Shops include Boodles, Hermès, Georg Jensen and Tiffany & Co. In 2003, the Grand Café and Bar was launched and completed the building.
My meeting was at the Grand Café. Situated in the original courtyard, a chic oval bar, surrounded by an impressive and imposing building, serves a superb selection of seafood and offers an all-day dining menu.