Monthly Archives: March 2010

What I do understand about Lloyd’s of London

I don’t know economics. That’s why I am taking an international economics and trade course. A lot of it is over my head. But I do understand politics and some law and governance and that sort of thing. I also understand aesthetically pleasing architecture, which was the highlight of my visit to Lloyd’s.

Over looking Lloyd's from the middle floor.

 

Lloyd’s is an insurance market. Or, according to their quick guide brochure, “The world’s leading specialist insurance market, conducting business in over 200 countries and territories worldwide – and is often the first to insure new, unusual or complex risks.”

This doesn't even do the office space justice.

 

It all started with coffee really. Three hundred years ago in London, the thing to do was go out and have coffee and watch other people drink it too. It was very much a social affair. These coffee houses were often associated with larger businesses. The Edward Lloyd’s coffee house was the place to go to find insurance for ships and boats. Or, according to the brochure, “A place where shipowners could meet people with capital to insure them.”

This bell is still used.

 

Good shape.

 

What happens at Lloyd’s is the process of negotiating and signing for the risk. “Brokers bring business into the market on behalf of clients, other brokers and intermediaries. As with any market, brokers shop around to see which syndicates can cover their specific risk – and on what terms,” according to the brochure. Lloyd’s has an approach in which individual needs are met, rather than one getting an “off-the-shelf” package. 

The system is kept somewhat traditional in which a paper book of losses is kept and written in with a quill pen. But of course they have computers and all sorts of modern technology. 

The books of losses.

 

According to my guide, a quarter of the world’s ships are insured at Lloyd’s. And they insurance many other sort of items from antique cars to Microsoft to works of art to film stars to footballers to the 2012 Olympics to rock stars. I’d say the most fascinating thing they’ve insured is a pink water skiing elephant, which appeared in Honky Tonk Freeway.

So this is it.

What I liked most about Lloyd’s, however, was the architecture of the building. It was built by Richard Rogers and was constructed “inside out.” The buildings gears and cranks are exposed and are primarily on the outside. The inside hosts an open office space built with exposed steel and lots of glass. It’s certainly a gem that shimmers.

Who thought escalators could be so impressive?

 

Magnificent.

 

From the ground floor.

 

Just outside Lloyd's.

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Photo of the Day – Lloyds Building

March 24, 2010

This is Lloyds, and these are people at work.

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Photo of the Day – London’s Space For Food

March 23, 2010

Space is hard to come by in London. Imagine six people living in one fair sized flat. They – I mean, we – have one large fridge and one small fridge. That’s not enough for our cold store foods or the supply of fine wine. But we do have plenty of cabinet space.

The two bottom drawers are mine. One milk, a jam, and tomatoes to the left.

Mostly raw ingredients. Four kinds of tea. I can easily cook something up, or bake you some cookies.

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Photo of the Day – London Laundry

March 22, 2010

This is how clothes dry in London.

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Lost, Stolen, Exploited – The British Museum

The British Museum

Lost.

 

Stolen.

 

Exploited.

I’ve been to the British Museum twice now. I have twice missed the Rosetta Stone. It’s a neat building. It has a lot of artifacts from pretty much every time period and pretty much anywhere. That might be the problem, though.

The aesthetically pleasing Great Hall.

 

Many of these artifacts were taken, or should I use the word stolen, under unreasonable circumstances. This comes up quite often when museums have possession of artifacts, often culturally appropriated.

Lining new walls with old walls.

 

Who owns the artifacts? The artifacts have come been in possession for hundred of years. What’s the big deal? The cultural origin of the artifact has its rights to the piece. The museum has some rights to the piece. People have some rights to see the piece. Should we share these significant artifacts with the whole world?Lock them away? Share with few? Use and use? It’s a gray area for sure. While the debate probably will never cease to exit, it is certainly important to acknowledge. 

What is the source of our knowledge?

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Photos of the Days

S.P. Sullivan, my significant other was in town so he didn’t really need to see my photos of the day since he was with me this week. But here they are.

March 14, 2010

Safe to say, the Museum of London was enjoyed by Sean.

March 15, 2010

Not to be emo, but Sean was the only good thing about my day.

March 16, 2010

The Photographer's Gallery is hit or miss, so keep going back.

March 17, 2010

My favorite night site is Parliament and the clock tower. Beautiful.

March 18, 2010

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that have meaning.

March 19, 2010

The Vietnamese Restaurant in China Town is phenomenal.

March 20, 2010

Fish for sale at Portobello Road Market.

March 21, 2010

The British Library.

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Covent Garden

Covent Garden was a little more posh than I expected. It’s primarily a cool steel and glass structured building where artisans and their crafts filter out and off to the side.

Inside the CG.

 

Inside the building are cute little shops where one can drop a lot on soap that looks and smells like candy or a variety of teas and modern ornamented tea sets. The crafters in this area are more pricey and capitalized than those on the outskirts. There can be found hand blown glass ornaments, sewn kitsch dolls, or watch a scene get painted in a matter of minutes. Restaurants in this portion are more like fair foods that are slightly less greasy, smell a lot more appetizing, and will make your mouth water.

The symbol of CG.

 

Surrounding the center is cobbled walking areas where street performers set up and large crowds of tourists and Londoners alike gather. This is great for kids and their parents as the street performers cater their routine towards adults and children; there are a few jokes in there that slip right over their heads. There’s the small church and garden, as well as other aesthetically pleasing pieces of architecture. Heading off on the side streets, there are numerous cool and trendy shopping stores, however, if you are set on a pair of Doc Martins, be ready to drop at least 70 Quid.

Pretty crowed, only I don't get why. Maybe they don't know either.

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