The Mercers’ Company is fortunate to have accumulated over the centuries a large property portfolio, located mainly in the City of London, and in Covent Garden in the West End of London. Income derived from the Company’s investments, particularly from property, funds the Company’s other activities.
The Covent Garden portfolio comprises six blocks of property on the north side of Long Acre. The most significant part of the Company’s holdings, it was left to the Company in the 16th Century by Lady Joan Bradbury. The area includes shops, cultural spaces, offices and residential flats.
The Company has recently completed a joint venture with Shaftesbury PLC to redevelop the westernmost block at the junction of Long Acre and St Martin’s Lane. This mixed use development is centred on a newly created public space, St Martin’s Courtyard, which is surrounded by shops and restaurants.
The Royal Exchange
In the City of London, the most famous building in the Company’s property portfolio is the Royal Exchange. An historic City landmark, the first Royal Exchange was created by a Mercer, Sir Thomas Gresham. On his death he bequeathed the Exchange jointly to the Mercers’ Company and the City of London Corporation. Once the home of commerce in the City, the Royal Exchange has twice been destroyed by fire and rebuilt on the same site.
The present building was designed by Sir William Tite in the mid-1840s. It was substantially redeveloped in 2001 and now houses luxury boutique shops, a courtyard bar and restaurant, and a series of office suites on the upper floors.
An interesting feature of the Mercers’ Company’s property is the tradition of placing a figure of the Mercers' Maiden, the Company’s badge, on its exterior. Further examples of Company properties, their history and examples of this unique property mark can be found in The Mercers’ Maiden in London.