On June 7th, 1566, workers in London broke ground on a monumental new structure that would redefine the political and commercial landscape of England. Designed by Sir Thomas Gresham and later dubbed “Great Britain’s Glory,” the Royal Exchange aimed to establish London as a trading capital on a par with European cities like Antwerp and Venice-a status it would begin to achieve only in the late seventeenth century. Appearing on London maps as early as 1569, the Royal Exchange served many functions at once: as a meeting place for foreign merchants in London to exchange money and news; as England’s first shopping mall, where Londoners could purchase imported and domestic luxuries; as a venue for open-air stalls selling domestic goods like books and pamphlets; and as an emblem of relations between the English court and London merchants. The completed Exchange, which could hold up to 4,000 customers, gave permanent shelter to merchants, bankers, and retailers who had gathered informally for centuries in nearby Lombard Street.