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THE EXCHANGE

Updated:  13 January 2011 
The Exchange was located at 24 Woolster Street, between Batter and Vauxhall Streets.  The site was formerly that of the Old Mitre Inn and before that, of the Franciscan Friary.

Designed by Mr John Foulston, it was built in 1813 at a cost of 7,000, which was raised by issuing shares at 25 each in the Plymouth Exchange Company.

In 1850 the Exchange comprised of a large room for sales and public meetings, a news room measuring 41 feet by 20 feet and a Hall of Commerce.

The Exchange Subscription Reading and News Rooms Association had been formed in 1848 and by 1850 had 200 members.

There were also a bar, two coffee rooms, one of which was the news room referred to above, and nine offices around the balcony.

The Plymouth Exchange pictured in 1942
The ruins of the Plymouth Exchange in 1942.
  National Monuments Register.

Offices within the building were occupied by the local steam packet companies along with the Fisherman's Mutual Insurance Society (founded 1844); the Port of Plymouth Ship Masters' Society (founded 1830); the Board of Examination of Masters and Mates (founded circa 1846); and the Trustees of the Merchant Seamen's Hospital Fund, of which the Plymouth Branch had been started in 1752 and towards which the Masters paid two shillings and crew one shilling per month.

A petition for the winding-up of the Plymouth Exchange Company was presented to the Court of Chancery on May 14th 1868.  The petitioners were Mr William Burnell; Mr John Alger, merchant; Mr William Henry Hawker, distiller; Mr James King, merchant; and Mr Thomas Jones Stevens, ship and insurance broker, all of Plymouth.  The petition was to be heard before Vice-Chancellor Sir Richard Malins on May 29th 1868.  Mr Alger and Mr Hawker were appointed as Liquidators.  On June 12th 1868 Sir Richard Malins, ordered that the Company be wound up.  [1]

By 1897 the building was mostly empty but Lloyd's Register of Shipping were still there.

Prior to the Second World War the offices were occupied by Messrs Sanders, Stevens and Company, ship brokers, and W J Reynolds Ltd, the tug operators.  The building was also used by Messrs Thomas Parsons & Sons Ltd, paint manufacturers.

The Exchange was gutted during the Blitz and later demolished.


Sources:

[1]  Notices in The London Gazette, London, issue 23381 dated May 19th 1868; issue 23391 dated June 19th 1868; and issue 23451 dated December 18th 1868.

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK

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