For the Cathedral’s October Autumn Talk, Jack McIlduff, a former Underwriter at Lloyds of London, gave an interesting and amusing talk on Lloyds of London – Myths & Legends.

He explained to an appreciative audience that 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 shop in Tower Street became the recognised place to go for marine information, and later for insurance also. And so Lloyds began.

Since then it has grown to become the world’s leading market for specialist insurance. In 1986 it moved to its present ultra modern building in Lime Street.

Lloyds insure anything from a sea vessel to a spaceship, from body parts to natural catastrophes.

Autumn Talks speaker Jack McIlduff with Shane Matthews, local managing director of Arthur J. Gallagher, one of the Talks’ series sponsors.

Some unusual policies included: Silent film comedian Ben Turpin’s eyes from uncrossing, Betty Gable’s legs, Jimmy Durante’s nose, Egon Roney’s taste buds, Michael Flatley’s legs, Ken Dodds’ teeth, and a confident comedy theatre group against the risk of a member of the audience dying of laughter

Jack referred to the loss of the Titanic and produced a copy of the original insurance slip, and a copy of the entry recording its loss in the Lloyds’ register (pictured above).

Whilst there was no shortage of those looking to underwrite the Titanic, which was ‘unsinkable’, and considered to be a prestigious risk, one Lloyds’ member, the British Dominion Marine, later the Eagle Star and now Zurich, refused to sign the slip saying that the vessel ‘sat too low in the water’ which did not instill confidence.

The hull and machinery were insured for £1m, an enormous sum at the time, and the owners, White Star, were paid out in full within 30 days of the sinking.

Joe Watson, Autumn Talks chairman, paid tribute to Jack and thanked him for making and taking the time to speak to us, and congratulated him on a very entertaining talk.

The Autumn Talks continue on Wednesday November 1 when Senior Coroner John Leckey joins us to reflect on his career as a coroner.

The series concludes on Wednesday December 6 when Paul Gilmore, who is based at Union Theological College, Belfast, will speak on the last heresy trial in Ireland.

Talks begin in the Cathedral Hall at 12.45pm and last for 45 minutes. Light refreshments will be served at 12.15pm and a donation of £5 is suggested.

A copy of the original insurance slip for Titanic.