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A business started in a 17th century coffee house, now housed in a modern silver and steel building in the heart of the City

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Essential Facts

Opened in 1986
12 External Glass Lifts
14 Floors
289 Feet Tall (88M)
Constructed by Bovis
Designed by Richard Rogers
The silver and steel Lloyd's building is the home of Lloyd's of London, a British insurance market. Completed in 1985, the building was designed by architect Richard Rogers. It was unusual in that its services such as staircases, lifts, electrical power cables and water pipes were on the outside of the building, leaving an uncluttered space inside. The glass lifts were the first of their kind in the UK and provide an exhilarating ride. The building consists of multiple towers around a central rectangular open space, with plenty of daylight flooding in through a huge barrel-vaulted glass atrium roof.

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Did You Know?

Until 1807, one of the primary sources of Lloyd’s business was the insurance of ships engaged in slave trading, as Britain established itself as the chief slave trading power in the Atlantic.

Lloyds of London
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Did You Know?

The building has been featured in a number of films such as Entrapment. It was also featured on the sleeve cover of British pop group Five Star's Silk And Steel album in 1986.

Inside the Lloyds Building
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The buildings focal point is the large Underwriting Room on the ground floor, which houses the famous Lutine Bell. This bell was salvaged from a captured French frigate which sank off the Dutch coast in 1799 whilst carrying a cargo of gold and silver bullion insured by Lloyds for £1Million. The bell has since become a symbol of good and bad news – it is rung once for good news and twice for bad news – the last time being on September 11th 2001.

The Lutine which sank in 1799 with a cargo of gold and silver, worth over £81M in modern day value
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The Lutine Bell, now on the main underwriting floor - rung once for good news, twice for bad news
Photo tredychris
The 11th floor houses the Committee Room, an 18th century dining-room originally designed for the 2nd Earl of Shelburne by Robert Adam in 1763. It was transferred piece-by-piece from the previous Lloyd's building across the road. The company’s major treasure however, is the original log book from HMS Euralyus, an observer at the Battle of Trafalgar. It is displayed in a glass case and opened at the page recording Nelson's famous message to his fleet, saying; England expects that every man shall do his duty.

Admiral Horatio Nelson, hero of the Battle of Trafalgar
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Lloyd's of London serves as a meeting place where multiple financial backers, or members, come together to pool and spread risk. The market began in Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse around 1688 in Tower Street. His establishment was a popular place for sailors, merchants, and ship-owners. Lloyd provided them with reliable shipping news and discussion on insurance deals. In 1691, the coffee shop relocated to Lombard Street and the business has continued long after Lloyd's death!

Sign marking the site of Lloyds Coffee House in Lombard Street
Visitor Information
The building is not open to the public, with the exception of business groups, booked in advance. Nearest Tube Station: Bank. Tel: 020 7327 1000

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