sentence: one the th day of in the year of our Lord , the Stock Exchange,London, came into being. Alas for those with tidy minds, the Stock Exchange is a typicallyBritish institution. No-one can say with any certainty exactly when it started. Like Topsy, it almost seems it never was born, but just growd.
No governor declared theestablishment of the London Stock Exchange; rather it evolved over time.The first major joint stock companies had come into being in the sixteenth century
and it was not for some time before there were enough tradable stocks to warrant thespecialized occupation of stockbrokers. At the end of the seventeenth centuryimprovements in banking led to an increase in the quantity of joint stock companies fromfifteen to a hundred and fifty in a matter of six years.
At first sales were conducted on asmall scale directly between the buyers and the sellers. After there were enough stocks,obviously the time was ripe for the emergence of some kind of middleman who wouldbring the promoters and subscribers together.
The earliest evidence of stockbrokers in England appears in the late seventeenthcentury and in 1692 the trade was important enough for the weekly periodical
ollectionfor Improvement of Husbandry and Trade
to begin publishing stock prices for eight companies.
Although trading of stocks took place, as Jenkins points out, they were by nomeans necessarily stock-brokers. They could deal in anything they likedstockes, gold,
The Stock Exchange
, (London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co, 1946.) p.1.
Charles P. Kindleberger
A Financial History of Western Europe
(George Allen & Unwin: London 1984) p.196.
Larry Neal, The Integration and Efficiency of the London and Amsterdam Stock Markets in the EighteenthCentury,
ournal of Economic History
, Vol.XLVII, No.1(Mar.1987):p.99.