This morning I was up at the crack of dawn getting ready for a trip into the city. I had an early breakfast and was at the Paddington underground by 8am. I was at Aldgate by 8:45 but learned that there is a downside to asking for directions… sometimes people don’t know and hazard a guess, sending you in the wrong direction. It turned out that Beaumont House, my destination, was literally a 1 minute walk from the underground. I spent 40 minutes walking around the streets in freezing cold drizzly weather until a lovely lady took pity on the lost tourist and showed me into her office reception, where I was given a printed google map showing me where to go. If the Three network hadn’t been down, I would have been set with my phone map, but that’s what happens when you rely too heavily on technology!
I met with Kerry, Simon and Tim with whom the company I work for does business. I was completely taken aback by the kindness I was shown – I was introduced to the team, taken through Lloyd’s of London* on my own personal tour and had a lovely meal at an Italian restaurant to finish it off.
Lloyd’s was amazing. Never before have I seen such an incredible building, which at the same time looks so brutal from the outside, but cosy and functional inside. Richard Rodgers designed the building and the style of architecture is known as Bowellism.
After lunch I made my way back for a costume change (dress, stockings and heels is not appropriate attire in this weather) then made my way on the underground to Victoria Station to do some sight seeing in the area. By this stage (4:30pm!) it was quite dark, so my photos aren’t of the best standard. First stop was Buckingham Palace which was as beautiful as I remember it being. The guards were in their winter gear which was quite impressive. I then made my way to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, neither of which I had seen before. Big Ben is phenomenal and I wish that my camera was working properly to take some better photos! The design of the structure is so intricate – I have never seen such amazing detail on a building!
I also walked through Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, but other than lots of tourists, there wasn’t much going on.
I’m not sure what it is, but people keep stopping me to ask for directions… maybe I don’t look as touristy as I thought!
* Lloyd’s of London (also known simply as Lloyd’s) is an insurance market located in London’s primary financial district, the City of London. It serves as a partially mutualised marketplace where multiple financial backers, known as underwriters, or “members”, both individuals (traditionally known as “Names”) and corporations, come together to pool and spread risk. Unlike most of its competitors in the industry, it is not a company but it is a corporate body governed by the Lloyd’s Act of 1871 and subsequent Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The insurance business underwritten at Lloyd’s is predominantly general insurance and reinsurance, although in 2013 there were five syndicates writing term life assurance. The market has its roots in marine insurance and was founded by Edward Lloyd at his coffee house on Tower Street in the 17th century. Today, it is based at the Lloyd’s building on Lime Street. Fidentia (Latin for “confidence”) is the motto of Lloyd’s.
In 2011, over £23.44 billion of gross premiums were transacted in the Lloyd’s market and in the aggregate it made a pre-tax loss of £516 million, driven by a number of significant natural disasters which gave rise to the highest ever annual level of claims for Lloyd’s. In 2012, Lloyd’s made a pre-tax profit of £2.77 billion on a record £25.50 billion of gross written premiums.