Daily Speculations

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9/12/04
George Zachar : Coffee and Economics

From Schott's Food and Drink Miscellany,

Two of Britain's oldest financial institutions were founded in London coffee-shops. The insurance market Lloyd's of London originated in Edward Lloyd's coffee-house in Tower Street (later Lombard Street). And the London Stock Exchange can claim to owe its existence to a coffee-shop established by Jonathan Miles (c.1680) in Exchange Alley, Cornhill. As early as 1694 Jonathan's accepted subscriptions to John Briscoe's Land Bank, and the writer John Houghton reported that 'the Monied Man goes among the brokers (which are chiefly upon the Exchange), and at Jonathan's Coffee House ... and asks how stocks go?'. In 1698, when dealers in stocks and shares were eased out of the sedate Royal Exchange, they quickly found a home at Jonathan's. By 1709 The Tatler had written that Jonathan's Coffee House was 'the general market of stock jobbers'.

Specs-with-kids visiting London should know there's a Starbucks directly across the street from Lloyd's, which makes for an excellent spot to relate this bit of history.