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Royal Exchange

Mitchell Library, Glasgow Collection

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Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange in Royal Exchange Square from Queen Street, 1834. The building was erected in 1778-1780 as the town house of William Cuninghame of Lainshaw, a rich tobacco lord, and was acquired in 1817 by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Ten years later the architect David Hamilton began converting it to become the city's new Exchange, adding features such as the double portico facade and a cupola and a newsroom. An equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington was erected at the Queen Street entrance in 1844.

The Exchange served as a meeting place where merchants and other businessmen gathered to deal in commodities such as coal, iron and sugar and in services such as shipping and insurance. The city's first telephone exchange was located here in 1880. Ironically, the need for a business exchange building declined once telephones came into common use. The Corporation acquired the Royal Exchange in 1949 and five years later Stirling's Library was relocated there from Miller Street. In 1996 the building was converted to house the Gallery of Modern Art.

Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 914.14353 CUL/SCO

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning

cupolas, exchanges, Gallery of Modern Art, GOMA, libraries, mansions, merchants, New Exchange, porticos, Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Exchane, squares, telephone exchanges, telephones, tobacco lords, tobacco merchants

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