The Royal Exchange in London, established by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1571, was the first purpose-built center for merchants to trade commodities in England. Gresham’s vision was to create a central trading hub that would rival the Bourse in Antwerp. The Royal Exchange became a gathering place for traders dealing in various commodities, such as spices, textiles, and metals.
As the center of commerce in London, the Royal Exchange contributed to the growth of the city as a global financial center. It facilitated not only trade but also the exchange of information and ideas among merchants, laying the groundwork for the modern commodities markets. The Royal Exchange has been rebuilt twice after fires destroyed the original building in 1666 and 1838.