London Diamond Bourse
The London Diamond Bourse first opened its doors in 1940.
The necessity for London to open a trading floor came about mainly as a result of the occupation of Belgium in May 1940 by the Nazis. At the time Antwerp was the main diamond trading hub of the World. Amongst the refugees who managed to reach this country were a number of diamond merchants. In some cases, they were able to bring their own stock with them. The first bourse was established inside Mrs Cohen’s café in Greville Street near its junction with Hatton Garden. A Committee and President, the Late Max Lack, were elected.
From 1945 onwards, there was an influx of members, some of whom were survivors of the Nazi occupation and concentration camps. As many of these had lost all their possessions, they started as diamond brokers. The Hatton Garden area was the hub of the jewellery and diamond trade. DeBeers had their offices in Charterhouse street and so too did many fine jewellers.
In the mid 1950s, the place was far too cramped and the London Diamond Bourse moved to the ground floor of 57 Hatton Garden as a temporary home. A few years later a new building was erected at 32 Hatton Garden, and with Barclays Bank on the ground floor, the London Diamond Bourse occupied the whole of the first floor.
The membership grew to approximately 700. By the end of the 1980s, even these premises proved too small, and when a new large building was planned at 100 Hatton Garden, which would include space for many diamond offices, Barclays Bank on the ground floor and a safe deposit unit in the basement, a move was approved.
With changes worldwide within the Diamond Industry and various problems facing the UK Jewellery Trade during the 1980s, the diamond community found its numbers contracting. Many of the younger members had long felt that any valid reasons for the maintenance of two separate diamond trading organisations in London had fallen by the wayside. Pragmatism now lent force to their point of view. Negotiations with the London Diamond Club were accordingly undertaken, which were to lead to the Formation of the new united “London Diamond Bourse and Club” at 100 Hatton Garden.
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