PortCities London

Coffee houses in London

The start of the Stock Exchange

The Jerusalem

A bag seal.
View full size imageA bag seal. © NMM
By the 18th century, the coffee house was entrenched in London’s cultural landscape. Different coffee houses catered to specific groups. 

The Jerusalem was firmly established on Exchange Alley in the City of London by 1735. Its address was given in various London directories for a number of traders and merchants involved in the South Sea Company.

By the 1780s it was 'frequented by Gentleman who are, or have been in the service of the Honourable East India Company'. The Society of East India Company Commanders held their meetings at the Jerusalem from 1780 utnil 1828. In the mid-19th century it went into decline and was amalgamated into the Baltic Exchange.

Jonathan's Coffee House

Coat of Arms of the South Sea Company.
View full size imageCoat of Arms of the South Sea Company. © NMM
Jonathan's Coffee House, also in Exchange Alley, has been credited as being the birthplace of the London Stock Exchange.  Like the Jerusalem, its clientele included stockjobbers who gave Jonathan's as their business address. 

The stockjobbers were heavily involved in the sale of shares in the South Sea Company. In 1721, share prices in the company collapsed, causing the financial and social ruin of many of its investors. 

Edward Harley noted the impact on Jonathan's:  '…nothing arises or increases here but uneasiness, discontent, and clamour which reigns in every part of the city. The Exchange is the least fragmented place of any of it.  Jonathan’s and Garraway’s are empty'.