The Royal Exchange was established by Thomas Gresham in 1566, following his, and his father's, favourable experiences of the Antwerp Bourse as a place where merchants could arrange credit and loans and so trade effectively.
The first building was lost in the Great Fire but replaced by 1669. A fire insurance company, Royal Exchange Assurance, was based in this building which is depicted on their insignia. Despite this, another, more localised, fire destroyed the second Royal Exchange building in 1838. Prince Albert laid the foundation stone of the third (and last, as of 2007) on 17 January 1842 and two years later Queen Victoria presided at the opening ceremony. This building is by Sir William Tite. If you want to know about the sculpture in the pediment, by Richard Westmacott, son of Richard Westmacott, then Ornamental Passions is the place to go.
Renovated in 2001, the Grade 1 listed building is now, it seems, mainly occupied by seriously expensive jewellery shops. IainVisits has (illicit) photos. 2017:Londonist visited the building and didn't like it very much.
2023: Londonist's roving reporter found some statues from the building, the one destroyed in the 1838 fire, in the garden of a hotel in Swanage.