I visited Lloyd’s Register Group at 71 Fenchurch Street as part of Open House London 2019. The Society for the Registry of Shipping, which was to become Lloyd’s Register, was founded by the customers of Edward Lloyd’s Coffee House in Lombard Street with the aim of giving merchants recorded information on the quality of vessels. This was placed into the Register Book and the subscription for access to the book paid for the surveyors to do their work. This is still largely the work they carry out today.
By 1897 Lloyd’s Register was expanding enough to warrant a new building and the architect Thomas Edward Collcutt was chosen to design it. The outside is very pretty with lots of sculptures but I was most impressed by the rooms inside. The library for instance has a brilliant ceiling and the pattern includes the coats of arms of the major shipbuilding ports of the time such as Glasgow and Liverpool.
The ceiling below was the original Classification Committee Room with oak panelling and carved friezes around the top of the room.
The most impressive ceiling however is that of the General Committee Room which was inspired by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The centre of the ceiling depicts the elements of air, fire, wind and water while the side panels depict the seasons, times of day and there are also signs of the zodiac. It took 18 months to paint and photos really don’t do it justice.
Definitely one of the Open House highlights you can see more photos here.