The history of the Baltic Exchange spans more than 250 years and traces its origins back to a humble coffee house - the traditional meeting place of merchants and sea captains - in the City of London.


The Virginia and Maryland coffee house in Threadneedle Street changes its name to Virginia and Baltick. This reflects the business of the merchants and shipowners who regularly gather there.



The Virginia and Baltick Coffee House moves to Antwerp Tavern.


To combat "wild gambling" in the market and establish some regulation, a committee of senior coffee house regulars is formed. Rules are devised and an admission procedure developed. A private meeting room is established,
to which admission is strictly controlled. This is the start of the modern Baltic market.

Original trading floor artwork


The Baltic Company Limited is formed to buy the lease of South Sea House, Threadneedle Street. New rules and a committee of 30 is introduced.


The London Shipping Exchange becomes part of the Baltic Exchange.


The Baltic moves to a new purpose built exchange in St Mary Axe.


The growth of the air industry sees the growth of the first air charter party.



The Baltic Freight Index is launched - the first in a series of freight market indices produced by the Baltic.



A terrorist bomb destroys the Baltic Exchange. Trading continues despite this,  first at Lloyd's of London and then at a part of the old Exchange building.



The Baltic celebrates its 250th anniversary.

The IRA Bomb the Baltic Exchange


New permanent premises are found at 38 St Mary Axe - home of the Baltic today.

What happened to the old Baltic Exchange?

Baltic Exchange stained glass window

On 10 April 1992 an IRA bomb consisting of
100 pounds of Semtex wrapped in a ton of fertiliser exploded in a van parked outside
the Baltic Exchange, then at 30 St Mary Axe.

Three people died, including Baltic attendant
Tom Casey, and many more were injured
as the bomb ripped through the Baltic,
destroying offices of major companies in the building and rendering the trading floor
unusable. By Monday morning, the Baltic was installed in Lloyd's of London and, by Wednesday, a trading floor was open.

The Baltic Exchange was unable to redevelop 30 St Mary Axe incorporating the
historical elements as required by English Heritage and the site was sold to
Trafalgar House in 1995. Most of the remaining structures on the site were then
carefully dismantled whilst the interior of Exchange Hall and the facade were
preserved and sealed from the elements.
Later assessment by English Heritage determined that the damage was far more severe
than had previously been thought, and they dropped their insistence on restoration; a decision that led to much controversy. The Swiss Re tower, also widely known as the Gherkin, now stands on the site of the old Baltic Exchange.


One of the key features of the old Baltic Exchange was its memorial dome, constructed shortly after the First World War to commemorate the 60 Baltic members who lost their
lives during the war. Designed by the artist Job Forsyth, it consisted of a half-dome and
five large windows, which were installed over a staircase to the lower floor. The subject is heroic and likens the British Empire to the Roman Empire.

The Baltic Exchange large stained glass window

The IRA bombing of 1992 extensively damaged the dome and windows. Of the 240
panels in the dome, only 45 remained completely intact and the windows below were extensively damaged. As much glass as possible was painstakingly salvaged from the wreckage and passed to the glass conservators Goddard & Gibbs who, over a ten year period, restored the stained glass to its former glory. The windows are now housed at
the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and are on display to the public.

The salvaged material from the Baltic Exchange was sold to a range of buyers, with
much of it shipped to Estonia for the construction of an office complex.

Life on the old Baltic trading floor

What was life like on the old Baltic trading floor? Watch our video featuring archive footage of the old Baltic Exchange and interviews with members.


The Royal Connection

The Baltic Exchange has long standing royal connections. Watch our short video which looks at the many visits to the Exchange by members of the British royal family over the years.

The 1992 bombing of the Baltic 


A look at the impact of the 1992 IRA bombing of the Baltic Exchange featuring interviews with members of the Exchange.

Baltic Exchange Ltd., St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8BH
Registered in England Number 64795
Tel + 44 (0) 20 7283 9300, Fax + 44 (0) 20 7369 1622.
Calls to Baltic Exchange staff are recorded
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