Royal Exchange, London

This image shows a statue of George Peabody (1795-1869) being unveiled near the Royal Exchange in the City of London. The ceremony took place during Peabody’s lifetime – a rare event. Peabody was an American financier and was widely known as a philanthropist. He was born into a poor family in Massachusetts, moving to London in 1837. During his time in London, he helped to establish the USA’s international credit position. He had no children to pass his business on to so, in 1854 he took on Junius Morgan as a partner. After Peabody’s retirement in 1864, the business went on to become J.P. Morgan.
In his later years, Peabody founded the Peabody Trust in the UK, as well as many other charitable initiatives, both in the UK and the USA.
The front of the plinth carries the following words –
George Peabody MDCCCLXIX

Born Danvers, Mass, U.S.A. 18th February 1795. Died London England 4th November 1869.
American philanthropist and great benefactor of the London poor.
Accorded the honorary freedom of the City of London 10th July 1862.
This statue by W. W. Story was unveiled on the 23rd July 1869.

The statue was unveiled by the then Prince of Wales. Peabody was too ill to attend the ceremony and he died three months later. There is a replica of this statue in Baltimore.
Image: Artist unknown
The statue in the same position in July 2021. It can be seen that the artist/engraver took some artistic liberties with the buildings in the background. Image: © Steven Miell (TimeViews)
A merged version of the two images. Use the slider in the centre.