Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section

Leaflet Guides to Records:



Although a market in loan tallies and future bill settlements had been in existence since the early 17th Century, the name "Stock Exchange" was formally adopted in 1773 by a group of brokers, dealing in the stocks of new commercial companies, operating from premises in Sweetings Alley, Threadneedle Street. In 1802, this group moved into purpose-built accommodation on the corner of Throgmorton and Old Broad Streets where, with expansion and rebuilding, the Stock Exchange has remained ever since. Also in 1802 the Stock Exchange formalised its constitution and was closed to non-members; this enabled it to regulate its own financial affairs, its membership and to set out rules and regulations to ensure fairness and eliminate fraud in its transactions. In 1946 the original arrangement of the Board of Trustees, managing financial and building matters, and the General Purposes Committee, regulating membership and dealings, was reorganised; the Stock Exchange became a members' society and the Council for the Stock Exchange assumed responsibility for every aspect of its government.

The Stock Exchange archive has been held at Guildhall Library since 1972. This leaflet sets out only the main classes of records held in the Manuscripts Section of the Library; for additional series, please consult the full catalogue in the Section's searchroom. Records are not available for consultation until they are 30 years old.



General Purposes Committee minutes, 1798-1946                   Ms 14600

          Sub-committee on rules and regulations, 1870-1968      Ms 14612

          Sub-committee on disputes, 1890-1959                        Ms 19516

          Sub-committee on Buying-in and Selling-out Dept,         Mss 14607, 19520


          Sub-committee re Exchange Telegraph Co, 1886-1942 Ms 14608

Trustees and Managers minutes, 1801-1948                            Ms 19297

 Building sub-committee minutes, 1879-1905               Ms 19301

Council minutes, 1946-54                                                        Ms 14600A

Legal papers, 1809-1908                                                        Ms 19308

Foreign Stock Market Committee minutes, 1823-30                Ms 14617

Copies of notices posted in the House, 1860-1947                  Mss 14616, 19576

Abstracts of accounts, 1801-44                                               Ms 19315

Trustees and managers journals, 1903-42,                               Mss 17963, 17964

    and cash books, 1895-1957 

Plans of the site and buildings, 1824-1929                               Mss 29831-29836



Formal application had to be made by a company before permission to deal in its securities was granted. The Share and Loan Department scrutinised a company's prospectus to ensure its compliance with the law and the Stock Exchange rules but the Quotations Department made the ultimate decision on the suitability of a company for its shares to be traded on the Stock Exchange. A printed list of securities and their prices was first produced in 1698 by John Castaing, a broker at Jonathan's Coffee House. By 1803, the list was being published twice weekly under the control of Edward Wetenhall who claimed it was "By authority of the Stock Exchange Committee". Daily lists concerning important shares began with railway shares in 1844. In 1867, at which date there were three daily lists covering English/foreign shares, foreign stocks, and railways, the Stock Exchange rules were changed to provide for the collection and publication of lists of prices and its Share and Loan Department became responsible for producing the Daily Official List. This was a consolidation of the three current lists and also included all companies regarded as being of sufficient size or of particular public interest. A daily supplement was printed containing quotations for securities of lesser importance. However, from 1947, these two lists were combined and the Daily Official List printed prices monthly for all securities for which an official quotation had been granted. Admission to the official list is referred to as a "listing" or "quotation". However, the prices in the Official List were constructed from "marking slips" completed by brokers giving details of their dealings ("bargains"). This was not compulsory, so the Official List is only a rough guide to market trends.

The Manuscripts Section holds both applications for authority to deal (from companies seeking only to have their shares traded on the Stock Exchange) and applications for listing (from companies wishing to have their share price quoted in the Stock Exchange list) and they include applications for government stocks (UK, colonial and foreign). These are arranged in two chronological series: Ms 18000 covering the years 1850-1938 and Ms 18000A covering 1939-65. Over this period the requirement for companies to present a full history of their trading activities and evidence of their financial stability remained unchanged although the volume of information grew considerably in the continuing battle against fraud.



Access to the holdings 1850-1938 is by consulting the card index to company names (Ms 18001) which will provide reference numbers for individual files. The files can then be requested by quoting both bundle number and file number (e.g. Ms 18000/93B/186). Because the files themselves are held in an outstore, a minimum of 24 HOURS NOTICE IS REQUIRED FOR PRODUCTION. A maximum of 5 files per day from Ms 18000 may be ordered.

The card index allows access by company name. The Stock Exchange Year Book can be used to find names of quoted companies arranged by subject; volumes covering 1875 to date are held in the Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library.

The "Applications for Listing" 1939-65 (Ms 18000A) are not indexed. They have been arranged by Guildhall Library staff in alphabetical order by company name for each year, following the order of the Quotation Reports (Ms 29798, discussed below). The Quotation Reports can be used as a rough guide to the companies included in the Applications each year from 1939-49 and as a reliable guide from 1950-64. The Applications for Listing 1939-65 are also held in an outstore and a minimum of 24 HOURS NOTICE IS REQUIRED FOR PRODUCTION. A maximum of 5 boxes per day may be ordered. Files later than 1965 have been destroyed by the Stock Exchange on a rolling basis with only the most recent six years being retained.

In order to see which application files are likely to be within a box in any given year from 1939-64, readers should consult that year's volume of Ms 29738. This series, known as Permission to Deal/Quotation Reports, contains copy summary reports from the Applications files, setting out further financial details of a company's existing share capital and its proposed new issue with its underwriting arrangements. This series is held on-site and is subject to normal access conditions.



Brief details of a company can be found in the Report Books, 1881-1938, (Ms 29797); these include an explanation of the reasons behind an application, the company's share arrangements, its business and its capital value.

Quotation Panel minutes, 1946-83, (Ms 29754) contain reports of weekly meetings covering share issues and approval of the dealing arrangements by which shares were sold to the public. These volumes are indexed by company name and general subjects.

The Sub-committee on New Issues and Official Quotations, 1930-63, (Ms 29763) dealt with disputes if permission to deal was withheld, and a company's transfer from one section to another in the Official or Supplementary Lists. Most volumes are indexed both by company's and broker's name.



The Library holds a long run of volumes covering admission to membership of the Stock Exchange for both brokers and jobbers. These comprise printed application forms bound annually and arranged alphabetically by surname. Most are for existing members applying for re-election; others are for first-time applicants and a few are from lapsed members seeking re-admission. The forms do not distinguish between classes of applicant until 1821. Successful and unsuccessful applications are included and it is generally necessary to refer to the appropriate volume of the General Purposes Committee minutes (Ms 14600) or to the register of new applicants, 1886-1903, (Ms 17974) to discover whether an applicant was successful.  Between 1815 and 1855 successful applications were marked with a "list number" in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Details requested were name; name of any partner or clerk (from 1804); name of recommender (from 1811, not required on re-applications after 1825); home address; name of bankers; marital status (first-time applications only, 1864-1905); age (first-time applications only, from 1906); office address (re-applications from 1865 and first-time applications from 1867); and name of any person to whom applicant acted as clerk (first time applications only from 1876). Details of war service were requested 1915-19 and 1940-6.

Some additional series regarding membership are listed below, but please consult the complete catalogue for an exhaustive list.

Applications for admission to membership, 1802-1948             Ms 17957

Lists of subscribers (i.e. members), 1802-28                            Ms 19311

Alphabetical list of members of the Foreign Market, 1832-5     Ms 19525

Clerks registers, 1857-79                                                        Ms 19313

Department for the Administration of Defaulters' Estates:

          Ledger, 1851-62                                                           Ms 29826

          Day books, 1864-1901                                                 Ms 29825

          Copy out-letter books, 1878- 87, 1916-38                    Ms 29829

Sub-committee on the readmission of defaulters, 1910-51         Ms 14610



You can find a catalogue description of an item by searching on the Manuscript reference number if this is already known to you. However, the archive has been deposited over a period of years and, therefore, the manuscript reference numbers do not run in sequence.

In order to facilitate searching, the catalogue (which is available in hard copy or on computer) has been arranged in sections each with an archival classification code as follows:

SELA  Constitutional records

SELB  Minutes and related papers

SELC  Correspondence and administration records

SELD  Financial records

SELE  Membership records

SELF  Quotation and listing of companies

SELG  Defaulters records

SELH  Staff records

SELI   Premises records

SELJ  Photographs

SELK  Miscellaneous records

Entering the appropriate code in a Classification Search will produce summary details of all the records in that section in archival order.



There are numerous published works covering the history or working of the London Stock Exchange many of which may be found in the Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library. The following list covers titles held in that Section which specifically complement the Manuscripts Section's holdings:

        Course of the Exchange, 1698-1889 (incomplete); 1890-1908 (copies on microfilm).

        London Stock Exchange Daily Official List, Jan 1899-Sep 1980 (some gaps), Oct 1980-Dec 2003 (microfiche only) Jan 2004 to date minus one week (CD-Rom).

        Loan and company prospectuses, 1824-1964 (cumulative company name indexes cover 1824-1901 and July 1939-Dec 1988).

        Annual reports, 1880-1965. A MINIMUM OF 2 WORKING DAYS IS REQUIRED FOR PRODUCTION.

        Stock Exchange Yearbook, 1875 to date less current year (which may be seen at the City Business Library).

        Fact Book, 1972-83; later Stock Exchange Quarterly, ceased publication 1995.

        Annual lists of members (variant titles), 1836-to date less current year (which may be seen at the City Business Library); (some gaps).

        International Stock Exchange, London: annual report and accounts, 1962 to date less current year (which may be seen at the City Business Library).

A free leaflet providing further details of their business history resources may be obtained from the Printed Books Section enquiry desk.

Last updated June 2006

Leaflet Guides to Records

Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section