The complete history of the British stock exchange

The British stock exchange, or the London Stock Exchange (LSE), is one of the oldest and most successful exchanges globally. It was founded in 1801 and has been a critical player in global finance ever since.

Traders who want to be successful in the stock market need to be aware of the LSE’s history and its evolution over time. Understanding the LSE’s past is essential for comprehending modern financial trends and predicting future movements on the exchange.

What are the LSE’s origins?

The London Stock Exchange has its roots in the coffee houses of seventeenth-century England. These establishments were popular gathering places for traders, merchants, and other business people. At first, traders traded stock informally among these groups of people. However, by the end of the 1700s, there was a need for a more formalised system.

In 1773, the first official stockbroking company was established. This firm, called Bucklesbury House, facilitated stock transactions between public members. Two years later, another company called New Court set up shop nearby. These two firms quickly became the most critical stockbrokers in London.

In 1792, 24 of the most prominent stockbrokers in London came together to form the London Stock Exchange. They did this to standardise the rules and regulations around stock trading. This new exchange was located in a building on Threadneedle Street, where it remains today.

The LSE quickly became the most important stock exchange in the world. In 1813, it was officially recognised as such by Parliament. The nineteenth-century saw significant growth for the LSE. By 1900, there were over 500 companies listed on the exchange.

What are some key moments to note in the LSE’s history?

The London Stock Exchange has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the centuries. Here are some of the most critical moments in its history:

  • 1801: The London Stock Exchange was founded
  • 1825: The first stock exchange crash occurred, resulting in the closure of Bucklesbury House
  • 1857: The LSE moved to its current location on Threadneedle Street
  • 1871: The LSE became a public company
  • 1902: The LSE underwent its first merger, with the Liverpool Stock Exchange
  • 1929: The LSE suffered heavy losses due to the Wall Street Crash, which led to a financial crisis in Europe
  • 1973: Computerisation of the stock exchange leads to a bull market
  • 1987: Black Monday – the LSE experiences its most significant ever loss in a single day
  • 2008: Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, leading to a global financial crisis

How has the LSE changed over time?

The 1700s

In the 1700s, traders would gather in small groups in London coffeehouses to buy and sell stocks. There were few rules and regulations governing stock trading, and the process was very informal.

The 1800s

The stock exchange was formalised, leading to the establishment of the London Stock Exchange in 1801. As a result, more companies were able to list their stocks on the exchange, and it became the most important stock market in the world.

The 1900s

The twentieth century saw a period of tremendous growth for the London Stock Exchange. By 1900, there were over 500 companies listed on the exchange. It was partly due to the introduction of new technologies such as computers and telephones. In 1902, the stock exchange underwent its first merger. In 1929 the Wall Street Crash caused a financial crisis in Europe, and the LSE suffered heavy losses. In 1973, the computerisation of the stock exchange led to a bull market. 1987 saw Black Monday, the LSE’s most significant loss in a single day.

The 2000s

The London Stock Exchange has continued to grow in the twenty-first century. In 2000, it merged with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, creating a new entity called iX. In 2007, the LSE completed a merger with Borsa Italiana, making it the largest stock exchange in Europe. Today, the LSE is home to over 3,000 companies from all over the world. It is one of the most critical financial markets in the world.

If you want to learn more about the stock exchange, you can learn this here.