Once the financial hub of an empire, the Royal Exchange building, opposite the Bank of England, is now home to a rather impressive collection of high-end boutiques. It has been transformed into a shopping mall with a difference. Few are as imposing. Round the back can be found the latest company-owned Leica Store which opened last month. Fittingly, it is right opposite the statue of the father of modern news gathering, Paul Julius Reuter (earlier in this article I referred to him as Ernst Reuter, a slip caused by too many visits to Berlin. Apologies).
Unlike the rather pokey pop-up store in the Burlington Arcade in 2014, this two-storey City Gallery has room for both sales and special events. Currently it is host to Colin O’Brien’s stimulating exhibition, “London Life” and I went to see for myself earlier today.
Colin was born in Clerkenwell in the 1940s and started taking photographs of London at the age of only eight. For most of his life he has continued to live and work in the heart of the capital, recording his insights into the lives of ordinary people.
The exhibition is well worth a visit before it closes on 29 January 2016. The Leica Store City Gallery is at 18 The Royal Exchange, London, EC3V 3LP and is open Monday to Friday between 10 am and 6 pm. It’s also a good opportunity to get your hands on a Q, and SL or, perhaps one of the new “lightweight” back-to-basics Ms.