Market Cross, Malmesbury


Market Cross, Malmesbury
c.1910
Publisher: Shurey’s Publications (1903-1927)
On back: This beautiful Series of Fine Art Post Cards is supplied free exclusively by Shurey’s Publications. The Publications are obtainable throughout Great Britain, the Colonies and Foreign Countries.”

In the centre of the town stands the Market Cross. Market crosses were used to mark a market square in market towns, since permission to hold markets was within the gift of the monarch. They arose out of the traditions of early medieval ‘Insular art’, that is the distinctive art forms that developed in the British Isles following the departure of the Romans. The tradition of elaborately carved free-standing crosses goes back to the 7th century.
Cotswold Journeys

The market cross stands in the centre of the town, at the north end of the High Street. It was built c.1490, possibly using limestone salvaged from the recently ruined part of Malmesbury Abbey, which then began just across the market square from the cross. An elaborately carved octagonal structure of the Perpendicular Period, it is recognised as one of the best preserved of its kind in England, and was made a Grade I listed building in 1949. A carving in relief of the Crucifixion and figures of several saints have survived the Reformation on the open lantern, although the lower niches for figures are now empty. Inside there is a lierne vaulted roof with carved bosses, springing from a central column with stone seating around it. There is a low wall or bench across all the outside arches except two. The building is over 40 ft. high, and today is nicknamed “the Birdcage”, because of its appearance, and still serves to shelter market traders by day and as a meeting point at night.

It was described by John Leland, who visited Malmesbury in 1542, as follows: Malmesbyri hath a good quik {lively} market kept every Saturday. There is a right fair and costeley peace of worke in the market place made all of stone and curiusly voultid for poore market folkes to stande dry when rayne cummith. Ther be 8 great pillers and 8 open arches: and the work is 8 square: one great piller in the midle berith up the voulte. The men of the toun made this peace of work in hominum memoria {within living memory}.
Wikipedia

Bishop’s Palace, Wells


Wells, Bishop’s Palace, The Drawbridge.
c.1910
Publisher: T.W. Phillips, City Studio, Wells

Google Street VIew

The Bishop’s Palace and accompanying Bishops House at Wells in the English county of Somerset, is adjacent to Wells Cathedral and has been the home of the Bishops of the Diocese of Bath and Wells for 800 years. . . . Construction began around 1210 by Bishop Jocelin of Wells but principally dates from 1230. Bishop Jocelin continued the cathedral building campaign begun by Bishop Reginald Fitz Jocelin, and was responsible for building the Bishop’s Palace, as well as the choristers’ school, a grammar school, a hospital for travellers and a chapel within the liberty of the cathedral. He also built a manor house at Wookey, near Wells. The chapel and great hall were built between 1275 and 1292 for Bishop Robert Burnell. The windows had stone tracery. Stone bosses where the supporting ribs meet on the ceiling are covered with representations of oak leaves and the Green Man.
. . .
In the 14th century, Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury continued the building. He had an uneasy relationship with the citizens of Wells, partly because of his imposition of taxes, and surrounded his palace with 5 metres (16 ft) crenellated walls,[8] a moat and a drawbridge. The three-storey gatehouse, which dates from 1341, has a bridge over the moat. The entrance was protected by a heavy gate, portcullis and drawbridge, operated by machinery above the entrance, and spouts through which defenders could pour scalding liquids onto any attacker.
. . .
In the 1550s, Bishop Barlow sold the lead from the roofs of the great hall. It can be seen in an engraving of 1733 but was largely demolished around 1830 by Bishop Law. He created a “more picturesque ruin” by removing the south and east walls and laying out and planting the area previously occupied by the great hall. The palace was used as a garrison for troops in both the English Civil War and Monmouth Rebellion after which it was used as a prison for rebels after the Battle of Sedgemoor. Bishop Kidder was killed during the Great Storm of 1703, when two chimney stacks in the palace fell on him and his wife, while they were asleep in bed A central porch was added around 1824 and, in the 1840s and 1850s, Benjamin Ferrey restored the palace and added an upper storey. He also restored the chapel using stained glass from ruined French churches.
Wikipedia

Swans float peacefully in the moat of the Bishop’s Palace, while parents push prams along the moat walk and chat, while the high wall separating the Bishop’s Palace grounds from the busy market place cuts off the noise of hustle and bustle in the outside world. It is a scene of peace and tranquil beauty. But it was not also so peaceful; indeed, the presence of the moat tells its own story, for in the Middle Ages the powerful Bishops of Bath and Wells were locked in bitter conflict with the townsfolk of Wells. The Bishops, fearful for their safety, thought it prudent to protect their palace with a wide moat and allow access only by way of a drawbridge which could be lifted in case of threat. But back to the swans; in the 1870s the daughters of Bishop Hervey taught the resident swans to ring a bell for food, and the tradition continues today.
Britain Express

Bird’s eye view of the Bishop’s Palace, “Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society”,1849

The present dwelling-house or palace, which remains to a great extent perfect, though with many alterations of a minor kind, has the lower story vaulted with a good Early English groined vault, with ribs, carried upon slender pillars and corbels ; the parallelogram is divided lengthwise by a solid wall at about one-third of the width, the outer or narrow part of which on the ground floor now forms the entrance- hall and passage to the staircase at one end and the chapel at the other. In this vestibule is a fireplace of the time of Henry VIII., which has probably replaced an original one. The entrance doorway has been moved one bay southward, and a modern porch built over it . . . At the north- west corner of the building there is a square projection on the north side, the walls in the ground floor of which are of immense thickness, and it was probably intended for a tower, which the situation seems to indicate. The ground room is vaulted like the rest of the substructure. The room over this (now the Bishop’s study), has had an oriel window thrown out at the end, and a newel staircase made in the angle formed by the projection and the main building. . . . The upper story of this long range of building is divided in the same manner as the lower one by a solid wall running the whole length, and separating one third of the width as a long gallery, in which there are two modern fireplaces, the chimneys of which are probably original; this upper gallery has also been originally divided into two rooms. The larger division is subdivided into three apartments, the partitions are modernized, and as the roof and ceilings are also modern, there is no guide as to what the original arrangements were, but it seems probable that they were the same as at present. . . .

General Plan, “Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society”,1849

All the principal apartments of the palace are still, and were from the beginning, on the first floor, and the entrance to them was always by a staircase in the same situation as the present one, although that is Jacobean work. The omission of the end bay of the vaulting, and the existence of a square pier on one side and none on the other, where the end of the vault is carried on a corbel only, proves that the original state staircase was in this situation, and ascended by a sweep round this end of the entrance hall. The square tower by the side of this, and in the north-east angle of the court, contains the servants’ staircase. The present stair- case is modern, and the tower is an addition to the original work, but it does not seem to be much later; the doorway is of the fifteenth century and the porch modern, but the windows are very like Joceline’s work, and are clearly not modern. The kitchen and offices were partly rebuilt by Bishop Bagot, but on the old site, with some of the old walls and the old chimney-stack remaining. There have evidently always been some rooms between the kitchen and the staircase. The buttery and pantry are usually on a level with the hall, even when that is on the first floor and the kitchen on the ground floor, and there is then a straight staircase from the hall to the kitchen, passing between the buttery and the pantry, as at St. Mary’s Hall, Coventry, and many other ancient houses. But in this instance it appears that there was a screen only at the servants’ end of the hall, and that these offices were down- stairs.

The partitions in this part of the palace are entirely modern, and I have not been able to obtain any plan of the old arrangements, so that I can only guess what they were. . . . This corner of the palace seems to have been almost rebuilt by him, and the old wall of enclosure of Bishop Ralph was built upon, and had windows pierced through it. The internal arrangement of this part of the house was entirely altered in the time of Bishop Beadon, about 1810, when the floors were taken out, and what had been two stories made into three. The tower at the angle, with a stair-turret, is part of the work of Bishop Clerk, in the time of Henry VIII. This tower, or turret, is square on one side and a half octagon on the other, a very unusual plan.

An upper story was also added to the whole of the west front over the long gallery by Bishop Bagot, about 1840, to contain additional bedrooms, and the present dormer windows were then added by Mr. Ferrey with so much ingenuity and in such good taste that it is almost impossible to distinguish them from the old work, and the effect of the front is thought by many persons to have been improved by the alteration. The buttresses were then restored, but Mr. Ferrey states that the toothing of the old buttresses remained quite distinct in the walls when the rough-cast was taken off.
“The Architectural Antiquities of the City of Wells”, John Henry Parker, 166, pp. 6-9

Bishop’s Palace, Wells, North View“Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society”,1849
The Gate-house, built by Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury, A.D> 1329-1363“Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society”,1849
East or Garden Front of Bishop Jocelyn’s Palace, A.D. 1205-1244 (The Oriel Window inserted) “Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society”,1849
The work of Bishop Jocelyn, A.D. 1205-1244, “Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society”,1849
N. Elevation, West End & General Plan“Examples of Gothic architecture”, Agustus Pugin, Augustus Welby Pugin & Edward James Willson, 1895
Chimneypiece in the entrance “Examples of Gothic architecture”, Agustus Pugin, Augustus Welby Pugin & Edward James Willson, 1895
Elevation & section of S. W. Turret “Examples of Gothic architecture”, Agustus Pugin, Augustus Welby Pugin & Edward James Willson, 1895
Plans and details of S.W. Turret“Examples of Gothic architecture”, Agustus Pugin, Augustus Welby Pugin & Edward James Willson, 1895

High Street & Bridge, Bristol


Bristol Bridge & High Str.
c.1910

Google Street VIew

High Street, together with Wine Street, Broad Street and Corn Street, is one of the four cross streets which met at the carfax, later the site of the Bristol High Cross, the heart of Bristol, England when it was a walled medieval town. From this crossroads High Street runs downhill south-east to Bristol Bridge, a distance of approximately 155m. . . . High Street, together with Corn Street, Broad Street and Wine Street, formed the earliest nucleus of Bristol. It is shown clearly on Ricart’s Plan, one of the first English town plans, with the High Cross at its top and St Nicholas Church (which then incorporated the town’s southern gate) at its foot. The street appears to have changed little by the time Millerd’s Citty of Bristoll map was published in 1673. . . . Puritan diarist Nehemiah Wallington describes Bristol Bridge and High Street in the 17th century as containing the chief shops of mercers, silkmen and linen drapers. Those who could not get premises on the bridge, which at that time was lined with shops, considered High Street the next best location.

By the mid-19th century shop fronts lined the slope of High Street, and development continued into the 20th century. Thomas Jones, the Pembrokeshire draper whose department store eventually became part of the Debenhams group, acquired three shops on High Street, ten on Wine Street and three on Mary le Port Street. In the 1920s the firm even tried to buy the landmark Dutch House which stood on the corner of High Street and Wine Street; when that bid failed the firm embarked on a modernisation programme which was almost complete by 1940. The majority of buildings on the east side of High Street were destroyed by aerial bombing on 24 November 1940. St Nicholas Church, also damaged by bombing, was subsequently repaired and brought back into use.
Wikipedia

Council House, Birmingham


Council Chambers, Birmingham
Postmarked 1908

Birmingham City Council House in Birmingham, England, is the home of Birmingham City Council, and thus the seat of local government for the city. It provides office accommodation for both employed council officers, including the Chief Executive, and elected council members, plus the council chamber, Lord Mayor’s Suite, committee rooms and a large and ornate banqueting suite, complete with minstrel’s gallery. . . . In 1852, Birmingham Town Council had inherited the old Public Office on Moor Street, from their predecessors the Street Commissioners, which the council used as their meeting place. It soon became apparent that this building dating from 1807 was not adequate for the needs of the growing town (which became a city in 1889) and that larger premises would be needed. . . . A design competition was established and the council received 29 entries, which was disappointing in comparison to the 179 entries Sheffield and Birmingham received. However a decision was delayed by further financial difficulties. The council was then split over the Gothic entry by Martin & Chamberlain and the classical entry by Yeoville Thomason.

Thomason’s design was chosen; his design featured a central section with a huge hexastyle Corinthian order porte-cochere carrying a balcony with an arch and tympanum high above, flanked by piers and columns which in turn carried a large carved pediment. However, amendments to the art gallery entrance and clock tower were made. The clock and tower are known locally as “Big Brum”. Construction commenced on the building in 1874 when the first stone was laid by the then mayor Joseph Chamberlain. The building was completed in 1879 and cost £163,000 (equivalent to £16,940,000 in 2020). A debate was held to decide the name of the building: the options were The Municipal Hall, Council House and Guildhall. The Council House was extended almost immediately, in 1881–85. The architect was again Yeoville Thomason. This was a combined art gallery, museum, and the home of the corporation’s Gas Department, whose budget subsidised the building, as legislation limited the expenditure of ratepayers’ taxes on the arts.
Wikipedia

Within the projecting corner are the Council Chamber and Lord Mayor’s Parlour; within the main entrance is the impressive main staircase. Everything in this central bay is sumptuous, from the six regal lions surmounting the balustrade over the portico, to the panels of rich carving between the upper storey windows, to the lush foliage on the cornice above. The dome is larger than it seems from below; the pediment, designed by Thomason himself and executed by R. L. Boulton & Sons, shows Britannia with her arms outstretched to reward the Manufacturers of Birmingham with laurel wreaths. N.B., Richard Lockwood Boulton (c.1832-1905), an admirer of Ruskin, also worked on the carvings on Northampton Town Hall . . . The main staircase rises from the entrance past an elegant lift on the right, installed to take Edward VII up on his visit of 1909. It divides into two at the half-landing. Here, Thomas Woolner’s touching statue of a young Queen Victoria stands opposite John Henry Foley’s more formal statue of Prince Albert. Above rises the inner part of the dome, nicely described as rising “on eight ribs with rosettes decorating the intervening panels, and spectacular squinches with three setbacks” — “squinches” being the supports, here recessed with intricate carving on each of the arches, for the heavy dome. The banqueting rooms at the front are especially grand.
Victorian Web (with photos)

Wookey Hole Caves, Somerset


The New Grotto
Wookey Hole Cave
Postmarked 1930
Creator: John Hassall

The caves at Wookey Hole first began to form when rain water percolated through the porous, sedimentary rock of the Mendip Hills. This process slowly began to create the chambers of the caves. . . . Wookey Hole Caves are formed of many sedimentary rocks, including limestone, sandstone and a natural concrete known as dolomitic conglomerate (or puddingstone). During the past 50,000 years, humans and animals have lived in and around Wookey Hole Caves. The caves provided a safe and, perhaps surprisingly, comfortable place to live, having dry spaces, being easy to defend, and at a constant temperature in winter and summer. We have found flint tools that were used by Neanderthals in the caves. . . . In 1927, Wookey Hole Caves first opened to the public. They had a totally different experience to that of visitors today. Only a few chambers were accessible.
Wookey Hole

Wookey Hole Caves are a series of limestone caverns, a show cave and tourist attraction in the village of Wookey Hole on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills near Wells in Somerset, England. The River Axe flows through the cave. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for both biological and geological reasons. Wookey Hole cave is a “solutional cave”, one that is formed by a process of weathering in which the natural acid in groundwater dissolves the rocks. Some water originates as rain that flows into streams on impervious rocks on the plateau before sinking at the limestone boundary into cave systems such as Swildon’s Hole, Eastwater Cavern and St Cuthbert’s Swallet; the rest is rain that percolates directly through the limestone. The temperature in the caves is a constant 11 °C (52 °F).

The caves have been used by humans for around 45,000 years, demonstrated by the discovery of tools from the Palaeolithic period, along with fossilised animal remains. Evidence of Stone and Iron Age occupation continued into Roman Britain. A corn-grinding mill operated on the resurgent waters of the River Axe as early as the Domesday survey of 1086. The waters of the river are used in a handmade paper mill, the oldest extant in Britain, which began operations circa 1610. The low, constant temperature of the caves means that they can be used for maturing Cheddar cheese.
Wikipedia

Esplanade, Seaford


Esplanade looking West, Seaford
Postmarked 1914
Publisher: Arrow Series

Esplanade Hotel on the right.

Google Street VIew

In the Middle Ages, Seaford was one of the main ports serving Southern England, but the town’s fortunes declined due to coastal sedimentation silting up its harbour and persistent raids by French pirates. The coastal confederation of Cinque Ports in the mediaeval period consisted of forty-two towns and villages; Seaford was included under the “Limb” of Hastings. Between 1350 and 1550, the French burned down the town several times. In the 16th century, the people of Seaford were known as the “cormorants” or “shags” because of their enthusiasm for looting ships wrecked in the bay. Local legend has it that Seaford residents would, on occasion, cause ships to run aground by placing fake harbour lights on the cliffs. Seaford’s fortunes revived in the 19th century with the arrival of the railway connecting the town to Lewes and London. It became a small seaside resort town, and more recently a dormitory town for the nearby larger settlements of Eastbourne and Brighton, as well as for London.
Wikipedia

Various companies were set up to try to develop the town as a resort. A better, but far from impregnable, sea wall was built, the elevated roadways from the Steyne to the sea front were constructed, and the promenade and the first terraced houses were built facing the sea including in 1891 the Esplanade Hotel, the flagship of theenterprise. In 1905 Edward VII honoured Seaford by staying in the Esplanade Hotel. The town was aiming to imitate Brighton, but the entrepreneurial Seaford Bay Estate Company had overlooked the rigours of Seaford’s winter gales and their few seaside homes and lodgings were never to prove commercially viable.

The Company’s proposed developments were very grandiose and the whole area from Splash Point to the present end of Dane Road was planned on the lines of Brighton with 12 parallel roads of terraced houses running back in serried rows from the Esplanade to College Road and Steine Road (sic) only relieved by a miniature ‘Royal Crescent’ on the centre line of the Martello Tower. Behind this, Cricket Field was to be flanked on the north and east by 22 seaside bungalows (of three storeys!), nine of which were actually built before the company went bankrupt and any further permanent development subsided under the threat and eventual demands of the Great War.

In an Edwardian guide to the town the Esplanade Hotel is extolled as being a very handsome and ornate building with over 50 rooms, and ‘furnished in recherche style’.There were also the less prestigious Bay Hotel in Pelham Road and the New Inn, which became the Wellington Hotel, and several other lesser hotels and boarding houses. There were bathing machines ‘of the most improved style’, boats for hire, and yacht trips in the bay. Later the old Martello Tower offered ‘teas and refreshments’and roller skating round its dry moat, so the town did a reasonable trade in the summer season. The grand development, however, was dead. There was not the demand for yet another resort in the 20 miles of coast between Brighton and Eastbourne, and Seaford, having lost its Duke of Newcastle, was in no position to vie with ‘Prinny’ or the Duke of Devonshire – the patrons of its more prosperous neighbours. The Esplanade Hotel survived for about 80 years and the rumbustious old town took on a more genteel aspect, but it somehow became more withdrawn. The sea front remained half developed and half derelict and, without the right atmosphere, the entrepreneurial spirit also died.
Seaford Museum & Heritage Society


Cockington Forge
c.1910

The Forge has stood at the heart of the village for centuries, and any visitor can see how it’s earned its reputation as being one of the most photographed buildings in the country. Although often cited as being constructed in the 14th century, a forge had been on the site before that. In 1345 a fire destroyed large sections of the building, causing it to be re-built in the style you see today, so it was actually re-constructed in the 14th century. It is thought that Rose Cottage, now a popular tea rooms, was the traditional home of the blacksmith, and was passed on along with the forge. The first records of the forge’s blacksmiths start with a Mr Davey in 1615, whose daughter married his apprentice. From there, however, it is difficult to track down any other occupants. We know that the last blacksmith started working at the forge in the late 1940s, and held the position until 1971, when under the economic strain of a steadily decreasing workload, it was forced to close.

The Forge has stood at the heart of the village for centuries, and any visitor can see how it’s earned its reputation as being one of the most photographed buildings in the country. Although often cited as being constructed in the 14th century, a forge had been on the site before that. In 1345 a fire destroyed large sections of the building, causing it to be re-built in the style you see today, so it was actually re-constructed in the 14th century. It is thought that Rose Cottage, now a popular tea rooms, was the traditional home of the blacksmith, and was passed on along with the forge. . . . It seems likely that the front wall pre-dates the fire, being the only wall to be made almost entirely of cob, a building material made up of clay, sand, straw (which sticks out in places), water, and earth, and a popular choice for homes in the village.
Cockington Forge

South Bay & Harbour, Scarborough


South Bay, from the Harbour, Scarborough.
Postmarked 1906
Publisher: Delittle, Fenwick & Co., York

Google Street VIew

South sands is a large sandy bay with good facilities, child friendly amenities and is popular with families. There is a working inner harbour with a small fishing fleet and outer harbour for pleasure boats and yachts. There are boat trips around the bay or along the coast. A handy cliff lift provides easy access to the town centre in minutes. The historic Spa lies at the south end of the beach which holds live entertainment and houses the famous Spa Orchestra during the summer season. The Spa a widely used conference venue for the town. Heading north along the beach you will find amusements cafes and restaurants along with the traditional seaside stalls selling delights from cockles and winkles to sweets such as Scarborough rock and fudge.
Welcome to Yorkshire

The South Bay was the site of the original medieval settlement and harbour, which form the old town. This remains the main tourist area, with a sandy beach, cafés, amusements, arcades, theatres and entertainment facilities. The modern commercial town centre has migrated 440 yards (400 m) north-west of the harbour area and 100 feet (30 m) above it and contains the transport hubs, main services, shopping and nightlife. The harbour has undergone major regeneration including the new Albert Strange Pontoons, a more pedestrian-friendly promenade, street lighting and seating.
Wikipedia

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire


The Parade, Leamington
c.1910

Parade is a 0.51 mile (0.825 kilometre) long street in the town of Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England. Running in a north-south direction, it forms part of the longer B4087 which runs from the A445 in Leamington to the B4086 in Wellesbourne. The road is the central shopping hub of the town, and upon it sit many of the town’s high street stores, as well as some of the best examples of Regency architecture, for which the town is known.  .  . . Until the first part of the 19th century Leamington Priors, as the town was then known, was a small village, of equal size with the nearby village of Lillington. The southern part of what is now Parade was part of Lillington Lane which connected the two settlements. Between 1808 and 1860 Leamington developed rapidly northwards away from its village origins meaning Lillington Lane was extended to the length of the current Parade and named “Lower Union Parade”, “Upper Union Parade” and “Lansdowne Place” in sections from south to north. In 1860 the street took on its current name.

The name Parade itself came partly from the fact that so many of the facilities that made Leamington as a spa town famous lined the street. The Royal Pump Rooms were opened in 1814, the Regent Hotel in 1818 and the Jephson Gardens in 1834. Most of the fashionable housing in the town was found north of the river as well as the main library and the theatre. Later Victorian buildings of note include an obelisk/drinking fountain dedicated to local politician and philanthropist Henry Bright (1880) and the large Town Hall with tower (1884).
Wikipedia

Royal Exchange, London


Royal Exchange, London
1900s
Publisher: Horrocks & Co, Ashton

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.
Wikipedia

First Royal Exchange, “The Pictorial handbook of London : comprising its antiquities, architecture, arts, manufacture, trade, social, literary, and scientific institutions, exhibitions, and galleries of art : together with some account of the principal suburbs and most attractive localities” John Weale, 1854, p. 367

Based on the Antwerp Stock Exchange (Bourse) in Belgium, Gresham’s bourse consisted of a trading floor, offices and shops around an open courtyard where merchants and traders could meet and conduct their business. The original Royal Exchange building was completely destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666
Walk London

This month [January 2021] marks the 450th anniversary of the opening of London’s Royal Exchange, a complex created to act as a commercial centre in the City of London. The exchange was built on the orders – and with the funds – of the merchant Sir Thomas Gresham at a site on the junction of Cornhill and Threadneedle streets which was – and still is – jointly owned by the City of London Corporation and the Worshipful Company of Mercers. Drawing inspiration from the Antwerp Bourse, credited as the oldest financial exchange in the world (and where Sir Thomas had served as an agent of the crown), the Royal Exchange was built in ranges around a central courtyard and designed by an architect from Antwerp. … Gresham’s original building – to which two floors of retail had been added in 1660, creating what is said to have been England’s first shopping mall – was sadly destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was replaced by a second complex, this time designed by Edward Jarman, in 1669, but this too succumbed to fire, this time on 10th January, 1838. The building which now stands on the site – and is now an upmarket retail centre – was designed by Sir William Tite and was opened by another Queen, Victoria, in 1844.
Exploring London

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