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Learning from our past

Researching our past

In 2020, Lloyd’s apologised for its historical links to the transatlantic slave trade. 

Our apology was accompanied by a series of interim commitments to support diversity in the Lloyd’s market and to make an honest account of our past a part of the story we tell at Lloyd’s.

This has included:

  • Hiring an archivist to arrange, catalogue and curate the Lloyd’s Collection
  • Publishing co-curated conversations between Black and white colleagues about items in the Collection and their significance 
  • Conducting research into significant figures in Lloyd’s past such as John Julius Angerstein and our 1771 Founders of the New Lloyd’s Coffee House
  • Launching an independent research collaboration with Black Beyond Data, based at Johns Hopkins University and funded by the Mellon Foundation, to explore our past and set it in context

Black Beyond Data’s research was published in November 2023 as the digital exhibition, Underwriting Souls. 

Underwriting Souls digital exhibition

Black Beyond Data’s research, based at Johns Hopkins University and funded by the Mellon Foundation, to explore our past and set it in context was published in November 2023 as the digital exhibition, Underwriting Souls.  

Conversations on the Lloyd's Collection

A series of Conversations between Black or ethnically diverse colleagues and white allies, exploring their lived experience and the legacy of enslavement. Each conversation uses an item from the Lloyd's Collection as the starting point for an anonymous conversation. The items were chosen to align with colleagues’ specific ancestry or selected by colleagues themselves. Listen to a short extract of each conversation or hear the full conversation.

John Julius Angerstein

We set up a Working Party made up of academics, curators and representatives from the Corporation and the market to support us in our investigation of the role of one of our most prominent members of the period, John Julius Angerstein (1735-1823).

Our 1771 founders

This research project brings together data that helps us to understand and acknowledge the role of transatlantic slavery through significant members of Lloyd’s history. It traces the links to the slave trade, the wider slave economy and slave-ownership of the founding subscribers of Lloyd’s New Coffee House.

The Underwriting Souls research contains content that individuals may find distressing, including historical racial language, issues of enslavement and racial violence. If you would like further support, we have outlined some useful resources at the bottom of this page.

Reflecting on our past

From this research, it’s clear the Lloyd’s market benefitted significantly from the trafficking of enslaved people and the goods they produced through the transatlantic slave trade.

The individuals operating in the Lloyd’s market were deeply embedded in the structures, networks and activities of the time. Many used their expertise and influence to develop and defend the systems that made slavery possible.

We remain deeply sorry for this period of our history and the enormous suffering caused to Black and ethnically diverse people, both then and now.

We know we can’t undo the wrongs of the past – however, we can take action to address the impacts still seen today, such as the racial inequality still prevalent in societies around the world. 

Responding to our past

For Lloyd’s, that starts by creating a more inclusive and equitable future for Black and ethnically diverse individuals in our market and communities.

It’s why we have launched Inclusive Futures – a market wide programme of initiatives, shaped in consultation with Black experts and diverse colleagues across our market, to help Black and ethnically diverse individuals participate, progress and prosper from the classroom to the boardroom.

We’ll continue to shape our approach based on what we learn and hear – and we hope these actions help embed the lessons of the past into everything we do at Lloyd’s, both now and for the generations to come.

Helpful resources:

Race On The Agenda: ROTA

One of the UKs leading anti-racist change drivers, ROTA works closely with communities impacted by systemic racism, prioritizing mental health, education and criminal justice.

SARI - Stand Against Racism and Inequality

SARI provides free and confidential support for anyone who is a victim of hate crime. We also work to build greater understanding and respect for diversity and difference within our community.


The Samaritans are free to call 24/7, 365 days a year to support you with whatever you are going through. Call 116 123 for free.


If racism is affecting your mental health, we’re here for you. Our information can help you understand the impact of racism – and choose how and where to seek help.