450 Years

WHAT’S NEW THIS FEBRUARY

From Chinese New Year and Valentine’s gifts to new collections and 450th anniversary celebrations, The Royal Exchange has plenty to keep you inspired

01 February, 2021

450 YEARS OF HERITAGE, STYLE AND EXCELLENCE

The Royal Exchange 450th anniversary

The Royal Exchange is celebrating a momentous milestone this year, with 2021 marking the 450th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth I officially opening the building in 1571. As we commemorate this special birthday throughout the year, we’ll be exploring the past, present and future of The Royal Exchange, as an icon of the City of London for four and a half centuries.

Read about the triumphs and tribulations of The Royal Exchange over the years here as we chart its story from its conception to the modern day. Find out about its founding father, the influential Sir Thomas Gresham, in this article featuring extracts from his biography by the historian John Guy.

Discover the stories behind The Royal Exchange’s much celebrated architecture and artefacts in our new Signs and Symbols series, which begins by explaining why a golden grasshopper sits atop the weathervane. And find out about the luxury retailers who call The Royal Exchange home today by following our Icons of the Exchange series, which starts with the story of Montblanc’s iconic 149 Meisterstück Fountain Pen, first created in 1924.

Visit our heritage page to learn more about the history of The Royal Exchange and keep an eye on our journal and Instagram  for more fascinating facts and insights about The Royal Exchange’s past and present

YEAR OF THE OX

Clockwise from left: 2021 Soho Diary with Pocket, £175, optional Ox motif, £10, Smythson; Muses Marilyn Monroe Special Edition Ballpoint Pen, £615, Montblanc; Wonderland Orient platinum, yellow and white diamonds ring, £14,000, Boodles; S300 watch, £2,995, Bremont; Mechanical Ox cufflinks, £195, Tateossian

If ever there was a new year charged with the promise of a new beginning, 2021 must surely be it. As the world waits with bated breath to see how the year ahead will pan out, perhaps we should take inspiration from the mighty Ox that represents 2021 on the Chinese zodiac calendar. Characteristics associated with those born in the Year of the Ox are: strength, reliability, fairness, conscientiousness, calmness and patience.

While we are exercising this patience, Chinese New Year on 12 February gives an opportunity to express good wishes and fortune to those around us, and while it’s traditional to gift children red pockets (envelopes filled with lucky money), there’s nothing stopping you from treating the adults in your life to something special too. We’ve included some suggestions above, to spark your imagination.


THAT LOVING FEELING

Fortnum & Mason Valentine's chocolates; Jo Malone London Scarlet Poppy Cologne
Miniature Heart Chocolate Truffles Box, £10 for 40g, Fortnum & Mason; Scarlet Poppy Cologne Intense, from £86 for 50ml, Jo Malone London

Celebrate all and any excuses to shower your nearest and dearest with love this month. Valentine’s Day, on 14 February, is the perfect opportunity to remind people that they’re special, be it with a card, phone call or a gift. We’re championing Valentine’s Day to be all-inclusive this year, because everyone is deserving of love! Take a look at our Valentine’s Gift Guide where we’ve curated special treats suitable for partners, friends and yourself. Meanwhile, if you are thinking of popping the question this year then our expert’s guide to choosing an engagement ring is a must-read.


BESPOKE TIME

Bremont’s new strap configurator offers an intuitive way to refresh your timepiece with a new look. Simply select your model from the online ‘Refresh my Bremont’ configurator and you’ll be shown a range of straps that fit with that style and be able to instantly see what they’ll look like paired with your watch dial. If you’re in the market for a new watch too, and like the idea of being able to create a bespoke look, Bremont’s new MBII timepiece can be customised in the same manner, allowing you to view over 1,000 possible combinations of colour, case and strap options using the ‘My Bremont MB’ configurator. Go play!


STYLE IT OUT

Clockwise from top left: Matilda Tote in Deep Shine Cornflower Small Croc, £550, Harlequin Cherub Neck Bow Scarf, £80, both Aspinal of London; M_Gram 4810 Belt Bag, £470, Montblanc; Kristen ballerina shoes, £269, Pretty Ballerinas; Signature facemasks, £20 each, or £50 for a pack of three, Tateossian

As we wait it out for the lockdown to be lifted so we can parade the streets more freely again, we’ve sought out a few stylish fashion pieces we think you can still justify treating yourself to in the meantime. We may have another month or so of grey skies to get through before spring breaks through, but Aspinal of London’s new Matilda Tote in cornflower blue will brighten up every trip to the grocery store. Even more so when paired with this pretty silk neck bow tie.

If casual practicality is more your style then Montblanc’s Strap Belt from its M_Gram 4810 leather collection is the perfect addition to your accessories collection, keeping you hands- free on your next excursion, be it for exercise or essentials. Pretty Ballerinas’ new Kristen ballet flats, launching later this month, are the perfect indoor-outdoor footwear, crafted from softly pleated leather, with a honed leather sole, while Tateossian’s facemasks are a must-have addition to your ever-growing collection.


ZOOM-READY

Spectacle designer and eponymous founder of Tom Davies Bespoke Opticians has shared his top tips for how to up your glasses game for your next Zoom call in this video tutorial. The characterful personality behind the designer eyewear brand has a series of videos on the Tom Davies YouTube channel, where he shares tips for glasses wearers (including what to do about that annoying fog issue when wearing your face mask) as well as insights into his work as a designer. To learn more about the eyewear and high-tech eye tests offered by Tom Davies Bespoke Opticians, visit tdtomdavies.com


KEEP CONNECTED

Until we can reopen and welcome you back to The Royal Exchange for a personalised shopping experience, we’d like to remind you that many of our retailers are offering virtual consultations and click and collect services. Don’t hesitate to contact any of our boutiques with your enquiries. You can find all of their details on our boutiques page. We hope to see you very soon, but until then, stay safe and look after yourselves.


The Royal Exchange celebrates its 450th anniversary this year. Visit our heritage page to learn more about the history of The Royal Exchange and keep an eye on our journal and Instagram for more fascinating facts and insights about The Royal Exchange’s past and present as we commemorate this special milestone throughout the year ahead.

We look forward to welcoming you to The Royal Exchange during 2021, for a considered shopping experience in spectacular and historic surroundings. Please visit our boutiques page for regular updates on our retailers’ opening information and hours, as well as details about virtual appointments and click and collect services.