We entered the unassuming reception area of the Lloyd’s of London building where security was tight, but our welcome was warm. Having left our coats in a massive cloakroom catering for all the 5,000 employees at Lloyd’s, we enjoyed coffee in the restaurant and then set off in two groups with our guides Tim and Clive.
The current Lloyd’s building, known by some as ‘the oil rig of Lime Street’, opened in 1986 and is a far cry from the coffee shop on Tower Street owned by Edward Lloyd where it all started in 1688. The latest building was designed by Richard Rogers and was the first building to have all its services on the outside including toilets and 12 glass lifts, although there are still some 92miles of vents inside the building. Following the tradition that all Lloyd’s buildings are opened by the Royal Family, the Queen opened the current building. We experienced going up and down on the numerous escalators in the building, but our trips in the glass lifts were highlights. The views across London were amazing, especially as we were lucky to be there on such a clear day.