Liverpool Cotton Market, 1874.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving from the Illustrated London News, showing the Liverpool Cotton Market thronged with businesmen. The port of Liverpool became the centre of Britain's burgeoning cotton trade in the late 18th century. Initially busines was conducted on the quayside where the cotton was landed. In 1808 the New Exchange building was constructed, but traders continued the tradition of conducting their busines in the open air, in a space known as the 'Exchange Flags'. As well as being a space for trading, the 'flags' was a location where businesmen could meet to exchange news, gosip and rumours. The market eventually moved indoors in 1906.