From Lombard Court to Finsbury Square – 139 years of the LME in pictures

The London Metal Exchange has operated from several locations in central London over the past 139 years while growing into the financial center of the global metal markets.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) has operated from several locations in central London over the past 139 years while growing into the financial center of the global metal markets.

Before the LME, metal traders and merchants would congregate in the coffee shops of Change Alley to trade across the road from the Royal Exchange. The Jerusalem Coffee House was the favorite among metals traders.

In 1877 the LME was formed as the London Metals and Mining Company and moved into its first official premises – above a hat shop in Lombard Court.

Membership of the newly formed metals exchange swelled to more than 300 members and after a few years the location was moved to a purpose-built office on Whittington Avenue next to Leadenhall Market.

In WWII trading at the LME was suspended and did not resume until 1953.

The LME would stay at Whittington Avenue for the next 98 years and underwent a renovation in the early 1960s.

The LME market in full swing in the 1970s.

Geraldine Bridgewater – the first of many female traders at the LME.

Fastmarkets’ Editor-in-Chief Martin Hayes (rear centre), then a metals reporter, taking down prices in the late 1970s. Read Martin’s blog Memories From The Ring


In the 1980s the LME moved to Plantation House.


The layout of Plantation House is similar to today, with booths for members fitted with computer screens and multiple telephone lines surrounding the LME Ring.

Plantation House in the early 1990s.

In 1994 the LME moved to 56 Leadenhall Street.

Fastmarkets began reporting from the LME in 2006.

And began filming live metals webcasts from the LME floor in 2007.

The LME has seen its fair share of celebrity guests – including Stephen Fry in 2013, who likened the LME trading session to “a bear pit or cockfight.”

The LME Ring in 2015.

Time-lapse of an afternoon trading session at the LME.



Video of the scene during the last trading session at 56 Leadenhall Street on January 27, 2016.


On February 1, the LME will begin trading at its new location at 10 Finsbury Square.

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