Royal Exchange Buildings (EC3) (Royal Exchange, tower)
The Gresham Grasshopper
The Royal Exchange building, designed by William Tite, consists of a four-sided structure surrounding a central courtyard where merchants and tradesmen could do business. It features pediment sculptures by Richard Westmacott (the younger), and ornamental cast ironwork by Henry Grissell's Regent's Canal Ironworks. It was opened by Queen Victoria on 28 October 1844, though trading did not commence until 1 January 1845.
The gilded weathervane atop the campanile at the east end of the building is a grasshopper.
For sculptures on the Royal Exchange, see also the Pediment and statues of merchants.
The grasshopper is the crest above Gresham's coat of arms. This insect has sat on successive iterations of the Royal Exchange since around 1565 when the Exchange was first built. The original building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London (1666) but the grasshopper survived.