Grasshopper sign JRU01_01_106
Martins Bank, Lombard Street, City of London. Looking east along Great George Street towards Big Ben and Parliament Square, with pedestrians on the pavement in the foreground, photographed 1950-1953.
The sign of the grasshopper was the crest of the Gresham family, and was used to distinguish the house of Thomas Gresham in Lombard Street in the 16th century. Gresham was a financier to Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, and founder of the Royal Exchange. The sign bears Gresham's initials and the date 1563; it is believed he traded at the site from this date. The freehold of the Grasshopper, later numbered 68 Lombard Street, was purchased by John Martin in the 1740s. Martins Bank was demolished and rebuilt in 1930. The bank remained at the site until it merged with Barclays in 1969; the grasshopper was still hung outside 68 Lombard Street into the 21st century. It is believed that 68 Lombard Street is the longest continuous use of business premises as a bank
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