joy magnetism: Underwriters above the rest

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Underwriters above the rest

Magnet #311 - Lloyd's of London

The Lloyd's of London building headquarters is on the 1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die list. So how could I not visit?

Amazing. It's freakish looking, all modern, with exposed everything, and shiny bits and bobs and funny-looking towers and what have you. And, it was done by the same guy who designed the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and you can see that fact plastered all over this "inside-out" design.

Designed by Richard Rogers in 1986, it was the height of modernism back in the day. Some folks didn't (and still don't) take too kindly to it, but it certainly is an interesting building to look at. As for me, I love looking at it. And they have a Lloyd's building shop on the ground floor. Hence the magnet. Love.

It's much nicer when viewed from farther away, when you're walking in its shadow, you lose a lot of the detail. Plus, you lose a lot of sunlight, just because it's so large that it really does block out the sun.

Lloyd's of London was actually created in a coffee shop, owned by Edward Lloyd, and they basically took his name. That was back in 1688. Whoa. More history, here.

According to this, the best book ever, I Never Knew that About London, they have the Lutine Bell, which came from an old French ship (lost at sea) that Lloyd's had underwritten back in 1799. They used it to let people know when one of their overdue ships had arrived. They announced bad news with one strike, and good news with two. They still ring it, every once in a while - usually for ceremonies, or unusual disasters.

Useless fact of the day: Lloyd's of London used to have their contract with all the terms of whatever they were insuring. And then, they all wrote their signatures at the bottom of the contract - hence the term underwriters.

Sigh. Great building, great history, great city. I finally posted my Arts & Architecture album on FB, which includes a few Lloyd's shots. Though, not as many as I wanted to include, I know.
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Anonymous said...

You can't spell magnetism without agent, as in, insurance agent.

joy said...

Nice one, anon. I had to double-check magnetism on that one.