Lloyds :: Visitors' Map of London :: A-Z Maps


Lloyds, one of the famous City institutions, is a world renowned insurance market and centre of shipping intelligence. 'A1' at Lloyds is accepted as a guarantee of good faith. In the Underwriting Room hangs the famous Lutine Bell, rung once for bad news and twice for an arrival when information about a vessel posted 'overdue' is received. The exciting modern building designed by Richard Rogers has external observation lifts and service ducting in strong colours; the whole is well and dramatically illuminated at night.

The origins of marine insurance go back to the Middle Ages and were first practised in this country during the 16th century. Bankers and merchants who undertook such risks became known as 'underwriters' from the style of inscribing their name to documents one under the other in order of responsibility for their proportion of the insurance risk. Following the destruction of the Royal Exchange in the Great Fire 1666, Coffee Houses were used as alternative meeting places - that of Edward Lloyd being frequented by those involved in shipping and marine insurance. In 1771, Lloyds became a formal organisation and one hundred years later became the Corporation of Lloyds by act of Parliament. In 1986, the market moved to its present headquarters, incorporating the latest in electronic communications technology, its flexible design will enable the market to expand as business dictates well into this century.

See Also: City of London (District)

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