Lloyd's List is one of the world's oldest continuously running journals, having provided weekly shipping news in London as early as 1734. Now published daily, a recent issue was numbered 60,850 (2013). Known simply as 'London Press', popularly known Lloyd's was begun by Edward Lloyd, the proprietor of Lloyd's Coffee House in the City of London as a reliable but terse source of information for the merchants' agents and insurance underwriters who met regularly in his establishment in Lombard Street to negotiate insurance coverage for trading vessels. The newspaper survives today to fulfil a similar purpose, although its circulation is now international and it appears daily. As well as shipping news, Lloyd's today covers marine insurance, offshore energy, logistics, publication of Journal on marketing, research, global trade and law. Greek shipowners are ranked in the top for all kinds of ships, including first for tankers and bulk carriers.
Predecessor publications are known. One historian, Michael Palmer, claims: "No later than January 1692, Lloyd began publishing a weekly newsletter, ‘Ships Arrived at and Departed from several Ports of England, as I have Account of them in London... [and] An Account of what English Shipping and Foreign Ships for England, I hear of in Foreign Ports’". However, claims that Lloyd's List is the oldest or second-oldest continuously published newspaper in the world are disputed. The World Association of Newspapers lists three earlier, extant titles.
Research on the history of Edward Lloyd was carried out by Charles Wright and C. Ernest Fayle, authors of ‘A History of Lloyd’s’ that was published in 1928, and which is cited by classification society Lloyd’s Register.
The coffee house is first mentioned in 1689 in the London Gazette, when it was based in Tower Street. In 1691, Lloyd moved the premises to Lombard Street, close to the Royal Exchange at the heart of London’s trading activity. It became popular with merchants involved with the shipping industry, attracting a crowd that came regularly for news and gossip that Lloyd collected for clients. In 1696, Lloyd’s News was launched – it was published three times a week with no particular emphasis on shipping – but stopped being printed in 1697. However, news continued to be read aloud at the coffee house.
In 1713, Edward Lloyd died, leaving the lease of his coffee house to his son-in-law and head waiter William Newton. The next year, Newton died and Lloyd’s daughter Handy remarried to Samuel Sheppard. She then died in 1720, leaving no Lloyd family member connected to the coffee house. Sheppard died in 1727, leaving it to his sister Elizabeth and her husband Thomas Jemson. It was Jemson that founded the Lloyd’s List that is known today, when he launched a weekly shipping intelligence publication.
Publication was weekly until March 1735, when it increased to semi-weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays according to historian Michael Palmer.
By the 1760s, the coffee house was reported to have acquired a bad reputation. One of the waiters secured new premises in Pope’s Head Alley and from there in 1769, the New Lloyd’s List began, according to Lloyd’s Register.
The paper went daily on 1 July 1837, and was published every day but Sunday. In July 1884, Lloyd's List was merged with the Shipping and Mercantile Gazette.
Over the years, Lloyd's List spawned several spin-off titles, including sister title Insurance Day, which is still owned by Informa plc.
In 2009, Lloyd's List went through a major re-design that encompassed both the masthead and the newspaper itself.
In 2011, the Lloyd’s List App was launched in the Apple iTunes store.
In 2012, Containerisation International was included on Lloyd's List.
In 2013, it was announced that Lloyd's List would be available only in digital format from December 20 after they surveyed their customers and found only 25 were using the print version only.
Notes and references
- Cameron, Alan, and Roy Farndon. Scenes from sea and city: Lloyd's list 1734-1984 (Lloyd's List, 1984), 250th. special anniversary supplement.
- McCusker, John J. "The Early History of ‘Lloyd's List’." Historical Research 64#155 (1991): 427-431.
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