What happened at the Royal Exchange in London?

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The Royal Exchange in London has always been a place for commerce. Although it has been destroyed by fire twice, it was immediately rebuilt and remains an iconic center of the City of London.

It was opened by Queen Elizabeth I in 23 January 1571, and served as a sort of covered shopping area where merchants could buy and sell goods. Its focus at this period was primarily wholesale and what would now be called business-to-business commerce. Although initially prohibited due to their inappropriate behavior, stockbrokers were eventually allowed into the Royal Exchange in the seventeenth century. In the nineteenth century it became home to Lloyd's of London, and a place where merchants could buy insurance.

The Royal Exchange fell into disuse as a place of commerce by World War II and was damaged in the Blitz, but has since been rebuilt. In the twenty-first century it was remodeled and became an upscale retail shopping center.

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