"Dictum Meum Pactum"- Our Word is our bond
Motto on the coat of arms in the London Stock Exchange

The London Stock Exchange is located in Paternoster Square (near St. Paul's Cathedral) after moving from its former location in Threadneedle Street. Originally founded on the 3rd of March 1801 the London Stock Exchange is one of the largest and oldest stock exchanges in the world, recently turning 200 in 2001. Queen Elizabeth opened the original building in Threadneedle Street, in 1972. The office was 26 stories high and had a 23000ft trading floor, where traders and brokers would meet to perform their transactions.

A little history

The real founding of the London Stock Exchange was the 3rd of March 1801, but trading happened unofficially for a good deal of time before then. Some of the trading happened in coffee-houses in England, businessmen attracted to the quiet, peaceful surroundings and the privacy the coffee-houses gave. Jonathan’s Coffee shop, set up by Jonathan Miles, was a known haunt for these businessmen, referred to as "stock-jobbers" by the merchants in the Royal Exchange and was in effect the first stock exchange in London.

The dealings of the "stock-jobbers" however did not go unnoticed by the Royal Exchange (the official centre of commerce at that time) and the businessmen were promptly kicked out in 1698 for "rowdiness". This did not deter the dealings of the business men and in 1773 they erected a building in Sweeting Alley, called New Jonathon's, that would soon be come the home of the London Stock Exchange.

From 1803 onwards the Stock Exchange was an official place of business and became more regulated. It was beginning of the modern stock exchange we know today.

The stock exchange today.

The London Stock Exchange no longer really has the face to face trading floor. Transactions now took place over computers and through the telephone, due to the "Big Bang" where the market became deregulated. This allowed for the use of computerised transactions, used in services like the "Stock Exchange Electronic Trading Service" (or SETS for short). The big bang also allowed for other changes to happen, like individual traders losing their right to vote or corporations being allowed to own member firms (a broker, dealer or in the case of the corporation, officer who is part of a stock exchange). The exchange also became private limited company, but this changed in 2000 when the companies shareholders voted to become a public limited company.

There was a period of time when it looked as if the LSE may have merged with Deutsche Boerse, in 2000, to from a company called iX-international exchanges, but this merger collapsed in September 2000. There does appear to be some interest in a new merger however, as in 2004 Deutsche Boerse and another European bourse (French for stock exchange), Euronext began bidding to link up with the London Stock Exchange.

To this date there are approximately 2800 listed companies in the London Stock Exchange. Its share symbol is LSE.


Sources:

http://www.londonstockexchange.com
http://www.victorianlondon.org/finance/stockexchange.html
http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/London-Stock-Exchange
http://waeshael.home.att.net/coffee.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4136827.stm
All these sources were viewed on the same date: 19 July 2005

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