The Nelson Collection and Heritage Floor
Lloyd’s has a proud association with Admiral Lord Nelson going back to the Battle of the Nile in 1778 where a Lloyd’s committee raised £38,000 to help the wounded and bereaved.
In 1803, the committee of Lloyd’s merchants and underwriters founded the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund to honour the brave and provide for the wounded and dependents of those killed in major Napoleonic battles.
In the years that followed, Lloyd’s amassed a varied assortment of artefacts and memorabilia associated with Lord Nelson, including his Collar of the Order of the Bath, the logbook of HMS Euryalus, and silverware originally awarded by the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund.
In 2005, to mark the bicentennial of the Battle of Trafalgar, Lloyd’s commissioned a temporary display, in the Underwriting Room, of some of the key parts of the Nelson Collection to showcase these wonderful pieces of British naval history for themselves.
Now we are creating a ‘Heritage Floor’ where we can display historical artefacts and tell the Lloyd’s story over the last 300 years. The important relationship Lloyd’s had with Lord Nelson means the Nelson Collection will be its focal point. This will address recent feedback from guides who conduct tours of Lloyd’s who told us the location and volume of items in the previous display meant we weren’t displaying it to best effect. The collection will be housed in the widely used area adjacent to the Old Library.
We are in the process of moving other items associated with Lord Nelson, which are currently located around the Lloyd’s building, together as a coherent display making them more accessible to visitors.
This includes historically significant items that were previously in storage such as the only Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund Medal ever awarded which was presented to William Langfeld, a boy serving on HMS Rattler in 1804, who saved lives by picking up a burning shell and throwing it overboard before it exploded. The impressive portrait by Lemuel Abbott will be visible to visitors, alongside the Collection, as they travel down the escalators.
Whilst we have reconfigured the display, we wanted to ensure a proper appreciation and reverence of the most historically significant items in the collection. Each of the artefacts on display is associated with one of Nelson’s best qualities – from determination to friendship, from resilience to sacrifice – qualities that we continue to celebrate at Lloyd’s.
Admiral Lord Nelson was a man who took risks to protect Britain’s interests and its people, and who helped to set the course for our modern world. We are proud to celebrate the man, his story and his relationship with Lloyd’s.