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Royal Exchange, London: View of front facade with pediment sculpture by Westmacott
The equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington stands in front of the Exchange. Cast from the metal of guns taken from the French by Francis Chantry, 1844.
The Royal Exchange in the City of London was founded in 1565 by Sir Thomas Gresham to act as a centre of commerce for the city. The site was provided by the City of London Corporation and the Worshipful Company of Mercers, and is trapezoidal, flanked by the converging streets of Cornhill and Threadneedle Street. The previous buildings on the site have been destroyed. The present, third, building was designed by Sir William Tite, features pediment sculptures by Richard Westmacott (the younger), and was opened by Queen Victoria on 28 October 1844, though trading did not commence until 1 January 1845. The Royal Exchange ceased to act as a centre of commerce in 1939. It is now a luxury shopping center.