Change Alley - is the place where London's rise to become one of the leading global financial centers began.
In 1698 John Castaing began to issue a list of stock and commodity prices in Jonathan's Coffee House. Soon after, stock dealers – who were expelled from the Royal Exchange for rowdiness – started to operate in the streets and coffee houses nearby. In particular, they networked and traded in Jonathan's and Garroway's Coffee Houses in Change Alley. This was the genesis of the London Stock Exchange that we know today.
It is this same DNA, built around insight gained throughout proximity and interaction of the participants in the market, that Change Alley's Advisory and Consulting business offers to it's clients today. We bring that same exciting dynamic and insight that existed in the coffee houses in and around Change Alley in the 1690s.
The sign of the Grasshopper, according to a 13th century legend of the Gresham family, relates to the founder of the family Roger de Gresham. Abandoned as a new-born, he was found in long grass somewhere in North Norfolk by a woman whose attention was drawn to the child by the noise of a grasshopper. This is a romantic take on the story, it is more likely that the grasshopper is simply an old English development of the name Gresham, with the "Gres" being a Middle English form of 'grass' and 'ham' 'homestead'.
In 1565 Gresham made a proposal to the court of aldermen of London to build at his own expense a bourse or exchange - what became the Royal Exchange, modeled on the Antwerp bourse. Wherever you walk around the site of the Royal Exchange, you will see stone or gilded 'Grasshoppers' in tribute to Gresham. He is buried in St Helen's Bishopsgate in the City of London.