Capel Court, EC2R

Road in/near City of London, existing until now

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Road · City of London · EC2R ·

On the east side of the Bank of England turn into Bartholomew Lane. Capel Court is off to the east.

Capel Court has little to offer unless, of course, you happen to be involved in the lucrative profession of stockbroking. This short walkway, leading up to the entrance of the Stock Exchange is lined with modern offices; quite a different scene from that viewed by Sir William Capel as he looked out from his drapers shop around the turn of the 15th century. He was elected Lord Mayor in 1509 and during that year financed the building of a chapel adjoining the south side of St Bartholomew-by-the-Exchange. Six years later the members of his Company carried him out of his shop in a coffin and laid him to rest in his chapel.

Exchanging of stocks and shares saw its beginning in 1773 with a gathering of Stock Market brokers who met daily in Jonathon’s Coffee House, Change Alley. When City business men became hooked onto the idea of buying and selling stocks, and Jonathon got tired of his shop being used as an office, the brokers sought permanent premises. They settled for a central site near to St Bartholomew’s church and the first purpose built Stock Exchange opened its doors in 1802. Over 160 years later the old building came to the end of its days and was replaced by a twenty-six storey block, trading floor, and visitors gallery, completed in 1973. Until the time of the ‘Big Bang’ in October 1986 the trading floor of the Stock Exchange could be likened to a market place on a Saturday morning. Now that dealing has been computerised and the procedure of buying and selling brought into line with modern day methods the trading floor is almost deserted.

St Bartholomew’s, originally known as Little St Bartholomew’s to distinguish it from the ‘Great’ at Smithfield, stood on the south east corner of Bartholomew Lane, a few strides from the Court. The date of its original foundation is unknown but the last church on the site was built about 1435 by Alderman Thomas Pike and Nicholas Yoo, a Sheriff of the City. It was demolished in 1840 and the site sold to the Bank of England.


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City of London

The City of London constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond its borders.

As the City's boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of Greater London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It holds city status in its own right and is also a separate ceremonial county.

It is widely referred to as 'The City' (often written on maps as City and differentiated from the phrase 'the city of London') or 'the Square Mile' as it is 1.12 square miles in area. These terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom's financial services industry, which continues a notable history of being largely based in the City.

The local authority for the City, the City of London Corporation, is unique in the UK and has some unusual responsibilities for a local council, such as being the police authority. It also has responsibilities and ownerships beyond the City's boundaries. The Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an office separate from (and much older than) the Mayor of London.

The City is a major business and financial centre, ranking as the world's leading centre of global finance. Throughout the 19th century, the City was the world's primary business centre, and continues to be a major meeting point for businesses.

The City had a resident population of about 7000 in 2011 but over 300,000 people commute to it and work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession forms a major component of the northern and western sides of the City - especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located, of which two—Inner Temple and Middle Temple - fall within the City of London boundary.
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