In the 17th century, London's importance as a trade centre led to an increasing demand for ship and cargo insurance. Edward Lloyd's coffee house became recognised as the place for obtaining marine insurance and this is where the Lloyd’s that we know today began.

From those beginnings in a coffee house in 1688, Lloyd’s has been a pioneer in insurance and has grown over 325 years to become the world’s leading market for specialist insurance. On the following pages you can learn about Lloyd's unique and colourful past, from its early days in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house, to the historical events that changed the face of Lloyd's forever.


Corporate history

Tower StreetIn this section we explore the journey of Lloyd's from its beginning as a coffee shop to the present day.

Innovation and unusual risk

As a market that specialises in unusual risks, Lloyd’s has insured some fascinating things over the years. From the first cars and planes to famous body parts. This section details some of the innovations that have made Lloyd's what it is today.

Innovation and unusual risk


An astonishing number of inspired and far-sighted thinkers have played their part in the history of the Lloyd’s market. We’ve picked out a few of the most important, including founder and coffee shop owner Edward Lloyd, and the pioneering Cuthbert Heath.

People at Lloyd's

Claims and catastrophes

Lloyd's buildings

Today, Lloyd's is based in an award-winning building in Lime Street, London. But the insurance market has been housed in a number of different buildings during its 325-year history.

Lloyd's buildings

Celebrating innovation


325 years of Lloyd's: An Extraordinary History

Take a journey through Lloyd's extraordinary 325 year history. From sea vessels to space ships, body parts to natural catastrophes.

Royal visits to Lloyd's


The Queen Mother opens Lloyd's building (1957)

News reel of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret visiting Lloyd's

Princess Margaret visiting the Lloyd's building 

Princess Margaret visits Lloyd's (1959)

News reel of the Princess visiting Lloyd's

King and Queen Open Lloyd's Building 

King George V and Queen Mary visit Lloyd's (1928)

A silent movie showing the monarchs visiting Lloyd's