Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lloyd, Edward (fl.1688-1726)

LLOYD, EDWARD (fl. 1688–1726), from whom the great commercial corporation known as ‘Lloyd's’ derives its name, is mentioned in an advertisement in the ‘London Gazette,’ No. 2437, 18–21 Feb. 1688, as keeper of a coffee-house in Tower Street, then one of the busiest thoroughfares in London. About 1692 he removed to premises in Lombard Street, at the corner of Abchurch Lane, where ‘Lloyd's Coffee-house’ became the recognised centre of shipbroking and marine insurance business. Previously, the chief resort of the brokers and shipowners had been a coffee-house, known as ‘John's,’ in Birchin Lane; the well-known ‘Garraway's’ had also a considerable connection among customers of this class. Lloyd appears to have been a man of great intelligence and enterprise. In September 1696 he started a newspaper entitled ‘Lloyd's News,’ a shipping and commercial chronicle, consisting of a leaf of two pages, each containing 10½ inches by 5¼ inches of letterpress, appearing as often as three times a week. It ceased on 23 Feb. 1697 with its seventy-sixth number. A measure for limiting the freedom of the press was at the time before the House of Commons; it was thrown out on a second reading a few weeks later (see Parl. Hist. 1697), but in the final issue of his ‘News’ Lloyd appears to have offended the government by announcing that the quakers had petitioned the House of Lords to be excused from all offices. ‘Mr. Edward Lloyd was desired,’ the ‘Protestant Mercury’ states, ‘that the statement being groundless and a mistake, he doe rectifie in his next.’ Lloyd refused, but promised to suspend the publication for a time. The British Museum has only a single number of the ‘News,’ but the Bodleian has all save the first six.

As early as 1700 a poem which professed to follow the daily movements of ‘The Wealthy Shopkeeper, or Charitable Christian,’ contained the lines:

Then to Lloyd's Coffee-house he never fails
To read the letters and attend the sales.

During the next decade Lloyd's Coffee-house prospered continuously. Steele mentions it in the ‘Tatler,’ No. 268 (Christmas day 1710), and Addison describes the manners of the frequenters in the ‘Spectator,’ No. 46 (23 April 1711). The merchants and underwriters used it as a free place of meeting, without rules or organisation.

The publication of ‘Lloyd's News’ was revived by Edward Lloyd, or, at any rate, at Lloyd's Coffee-house, Lombard Street, in 1726, under the name of ‘Lloyd's Lists.’ This periodical still survives as the official organ of the ‘Committee of Lloyd's,’ although it has since 1836 been incorporated in the ‘Shipping and Mercantile Gazette,’ and is the oldest existing London newspaper, the ‘London Gazette’ excepted. The completest collection of ‘Lloyd's Lists’ is in the library at ‘Lloyd's,’ and begins with 1740. Earlier numbers may have perished in the fire that destroyed ‘Lloyd's’ offices in the old Royal Exchange in 1838. The issue of ‘Lloyd's Register of Shipping’ is believed to have commenced about the same time as the ‘Lists,’ with which it must not be confounded, in the form of printed (at an earlier period written) ship-lists distributed to subscribers at Lloyd's Coffee-house. The earliest extant volumes of this publication, those for 1764–6, are at ‘Lloyd's Registry of Shipping.’

Lloyd may have been the person of that name whose interment at St. Stephen's Walbrook is registered in July 1734; but the name is common. He probably died before 1740, since in March of that year ‘Mr. Baker,’ who was then ‘master of Lloyd's Coffee-house in Lombard Street, waited upon Sir Robert Walpole’ with the first news of Admiral Vernon's capture of Portobello (Gent. Mag. x. 142).

A coffee-house of the same name existed early in the eighteenth century in Dublin, and from it was issued ‘Lloyd's Newsletter.’ The proprietor was probably another Edward Lloyd—the same, doubtless, who was elected sheriff of Dublin in December 1690 (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. pt. vii. p. 306). Among the British Museum printed books is a solitary number of ‘Lloyd's Newsletter,’ No. 139, ‘printed for Edward Loyd (sic) at his Coffee-house, Cork Hill, Dublin, in 1713.’

In 1770 John Julius Angerstein [q. v.] and other city merchants started an association of underwriters, under the name of ‘New Lloyd's,’ with its headquarters in Pope's Head Alley, Cornhill. Various improvements in marine insurance were introduced. The adjective ‘new’ was soon dropped, and the offices were removed to the old Royal Exchange. This association, since improved and reorganised, received a charter of incorporation in 1870. The offices of ‘Lloyd's’ are at the Royal Exchange, and are still erroneously called ‘Lloyd's Coffee-house’ by some old-fashioned people and foreigners.

[F. Martin's Hist. of Lloyd's, London, 1876; Annals of Lloyd's Reg. of Shipping, London, 1884, 4to; articles on ‘Lloyd's,’ ‘Austrian Lloyd's,’ &c., in 9th edit. Encycl. Brit.; Fox Bourne's Newspaper Press, i. 286; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. xi. 492; Wheatley and Cunningham's London, ii. 407–11; Dickens's Dict. of London; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Mitchell's Newspaper Press Directory.]

H. M. C.