The Exchange Building which overlooks John Mackintosh Square, was the scene of tense moments on the 11th July 1940 when crowds demanded the disembarkation of the Gibraltarian families returning from Casablanca. Two City Councillors and the acting president of the Exchange Committee were instrumental in convincing Governor Liddel to disembark.10 Other mass demonstrations and political rallies have been held on the Square over the years as well as a number of Civic events. During the late 1990’s the Square was completely refurbished.
In 1950, the Legislative Council took up residence in the building where it remained until its merger with the City Council in 1969, to become the House of Assembly established by the Gibraltar Constitution Order 1969. The first session of the House of Assembly was opened on the 28th August 1969 by the then Governor, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Varyl Begg. On 2nd January 2007, the Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006 came into effect. Under this new Order the former House of Assembly became known as the present Gibraltar Parliament.
Starting in October 1947, the lobby of the House of assembly became the venue for holding first local lottery launched in order to service the loan for the construction of new housing (Alameda Housing Estate - which was built at a cost of £4.5 million). The last lottery held in the lobby was held on the 19th November 2001. Since the 17th December, the draw has been held at Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).
The rooms in the ground floor have served a number of purposes over the years; Child Welfare, Tourist Information Offices and currently cafeteria and restaurants.
The lobby of the building contains a tablet erected by the Exchange Committee with the names of those Gibraltarians who died in the First World War. It bears a bronze medallion with the portrait of Lt. Solomon Benzecry, which was the work of the talented local sculpture James Povedano. Other names on the tablet are; L. Bossano, J. Gustavino, L. J. B. Harrison, A. Jones, E. Oliveri, A. J. Ruggieri, A. Ryan, T. Stewart, J. Underry, H. Reading, M. A. W. Pitman and F. D. Piri. On the frieze opposite are the names of all who contributed towards the cost of the erection of the building in 1817.11
A bust and plaque memorial in memory of Gibraltar philanthropist and benefactor John Mackintosh was raised by public subscription and unveiled on the western façade of the House of Assembly building facing the square in April, 1974.