Guy Street, SE1

Place Name

Named after Sir Thomas Guy (1644 – December 27, 1724), founder of Guy’s Hospital. Sir Thomas was a successful bookseller but he really made his money as a speculator. It was in this latter capacity that he became involved in the slave trade. Guy bought £42,000 of shares in the South Sea Company, which had been formed in 1711 to supply 4,800 slaves every year for 30 years to the Spanish plantations in Central and Southern America. In 1720 he successfully sold his stock of the company with the price ranging £300–600 per share and amassed a large fortune – just weeks before the so-called South Sea Bubble burst, reducing many speculators to penury. Despite his reputation as a miser, Sir Thomas Guy used his fortune to set up almshouses and Guy’s Hospital, in London.

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