By January 1860, things were well underway for the development of a new Exchange building and a commitee had been formed to investigate possible sites for the construction.
In a meeting held on the 11th January 1860, members of the Exchange Comittee discussed and voted on the possible sites that had been identified.
The first site considered was the large shop at the corner of Church Street and Darwen Street. This was the site of the first Exchange planned in 1846. After the first attempt failed, the site was sold off, and the cost of buying it again was too much, so this location was rejected. The next site considered was at the corner of Ainsworth Street and Victoria Street, where a market was currently held. The third site under consideration was opposite the Town Hall where the Fielden’s Arms public house sat. The final site was at the rear of the Town Hall where the Police Court and market were currently based. That site was immediately rejected owing to the noise and obstruction from the busy market traders.
The comittee considered their options and decided that the Fielden’s Arms, opposite the Town Hall, was the best site, followed by the corner of Ainsworth Street. It was noted that alongside the Fielden’s Arms, the Catholic Brethren were building a new hall. Mr Lund, of the Exchange committee, suggested that “the Catholic Brethren would not stand in the way of public good” and would be willing to sell their property. The committee also proposed to demolish the Fielden’s Arms to give them the full site on which to build the new Exchange.
The Exchange was to hold more than just the cotton trading business. Initial ideas were that the building would also fit eight or nine shops and a public house, which would allow them to generate more money from the site.
Another committee was set up to carry out the work needed, and this group went on to look for funding and designs for the new building.