London Stock Exchange History

The London Stock Exchange history is proof that from something small, a huge giant can be built. It can trace its history back more than 300 years. Starting life in the coffee houses of 17th century London, the Exchange quickly grew to become the City’s most important financial institution.

1698 - John Castaing begins to issue 'at this Office in Jonathan’s Coffee-house' a list of stock and commodity prices called 'The Course of the Exchange and other things'. It is the earliest evidence of organised trading in marketable securities in London.

1698 - Stock dealers are expelled from the Royal Exchange for rowdiness and start to operate in the streets and coffee houses nearby, in particular in Jonathan’s Coffee House in Change Alley.

1720 - The wave of speculative fever known as the South Sea Bubble bursts. Details of this can be found in many investment books - especially those related to investor or crowd psychology. It makes for an instructive and entertaining read!! Without doubt, this has to be one of the most interesting times in London Stock Exchange history.

1761 - A group of 150 stock brokers and jobbers form a club at Jonathan's to buy and sell shares.

1773 - The brokers erect their own building in Sweeting’s Alley, with a dealing room on the ground floor and a coffee room above. The members soon name it the 'The Stock Exchange'.

1801 - On 3 March, the business reopens under a formal membership basis. On this date, the first regulated exchange comes into existence in London, and the modern Stock Exchange is born. Officially, London Stock Exchange history starts here!

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1812 - The first codified rule book is created.

1836 - The first regional exchanges open in Manchester and Liverpool.

1854 - The Stock Exchange is rebuilt.

1876 - A new Deed of Settlement for the Stock Exchange comes into force.

1914 - The Great War means the Exchange market is closed from the end of July until the new year.

1923 - The Exchange receives its own Coat of Arms, with the motto 'Dictum Meum Pactum' (My Word is My Bond). For many decades, this phrase summed up the code of those working on or in the exchange.

1939 - The start of World War Two. The Exchange is closed for 6 days and reopens on 7 September. The floor of the House closes for only one more day, in 1945 due to damage from a V2 rocket – trading then continues in the basement.

1972 - Her Majesty the Queen opens the Exchange's new 26-storey office block.

1973 - First female members admitted to the market.

1986 - Deregulation of the market, known as 'Big Bang': ownership of member firms by an outside corporation is allowed. All firms become broker/dealers able to operate in a dual capacity. Minimum scales of commission are abolished. Individual members cease to have voting rights. Trading moves from being conducted face-to-face on a market floor to being performed via computer and telephone from separate dealing rooms. The Exchange becomes a private limited company under the Companies Act 1985.

1991 - The governing Council of the Exchange is replaced with a Board of Directors drawn from the Exchange's executive, customer and user base. The trading name becomes '“The London Stock Exchange'.

1995 - AIM is launched – read about it on other pages of this site.

1997 - SETS (Stock Exchange Electronic Trading Service) is launched to bring greater speed and efficiency to the market. The CREST settlement service is launched.

2000 - Shareholders vote to become a public limited company: London Stock Exchange plc.

2001 - London Stock Exchange plc lists on it's own Main Market in July.

As you can see, the market's history has been one of growth and constant expansion and is a credit to the UK.

To read more about the LSE, please visit:

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