The entrance hall

Inside Collcutt's palazzo

Collcutt continued the theme of a palazzo in the internal planning of the building. The entrance hall, staircase and first floor landing were conceived as a single professional way to the grand rooms of the piano nobile, the first floor.

The entrance hall

With a striking black and white marble floor, the entrance hall sets the scene for the rooms on the first floor. The hall gives access to several offices on the ground floor and now links to the Rogers building. Collcutt's use of multi-coloured marble, referencing 16th century Italian baroque work, is a special feature of his architecture. The black and white marble floor of the entrance hall contrasts with the grey veined Torquay marble wall linings which continue to the first floor. The broad Sicilian marble staircase has handrails, newels, balustrade and skirting of grey, liver red and black marble. Apart from the black and white marble floor by Jenins and Co. of Torquay, the marbles work was mostly by the London firm of Burke and Co. The deeply coffered ceiling with modillions and eggs and dart moulding is by George Jackson and Co. the London plaster workers who over one hundred years earlier had been Robert Adam's master craftsmen.

Entrance Hall

The ground floor Chairman's office

Also leading from the entrance hall was one of the two offices of the Chairman. The room has mahogany moulded dado panelling and a coffered ceiling decorated with egg and dart moulding. The chimney-piece is by Bertram Pegram. It is made of the same Hopton Wood Stone used by George Frampton in his tableaux on the exterior of the building. The deep frieze is carved in relief, with Neptune accompanied by attendants, and is a sensitively rendered piece of work. The chimney-piece encloses a copper fire surround framed by green 'art' tiles.

Lions of Genoa

A pair of speckled grey marble lions guard the entrance hall. These sculptures were the gift of Francisco Schiaffino, the first Lloyd's Register surveyor in Genoa, appointed in 1872. Genoa remains to this day the most important port in Italy and the lion has long been associated with that city. These two Genoese lions are 19th century versions of a bronze group of twelve similar lions sculpted in 1651 by Matteo Bonicelli. Four of this group now guard the royal throne in the Palacio de Oriente in Madrid. A story has it that a dissatisfied client smashed one of the lions when he threw it down the entrance steps of White Lion Court, Lloyd's Register offices before the move to Fenchurch Street. Fortunately, Signor Schiaffino's generosity extended to a replacement lion.

Entrance Hall Lion

Route to the Rogers building 

Facing the main entrance, double mahogany doors lead into an office space from the entrance hall. Originally this was the General Office where clerks worked behind mahogany desks. Now the space is split into two floors with a mezzanine that links the old and new buildings. Restoration work in 1988 revealed the original ornate coffered moulded plaster ceiling, which has been restored to its former splendour. The ground floor now houses the Lloyd's Register library.

The staircase

The great marble open-well staircase proceeds in a set of three flights to the first floor. The stair carpet is a 1947 replica of the original 'Turkey' carpet specified by Collcutt and supplied by Maples & Co. At the foot of the stairs, a bronze sculpture and plaque by F Arnold Wright commemorates Lloyd's Register personnel who died in the First World War. A marble plaque by Esmond Burton, commemorating employees who died in the Second World War, is under the first-floor-landing balustrade, facing the stairwell. 

The Rose Window

Over the second flight of stairs is a round, stained glass window with emblems of Great Britain: the English rose, the Scottish thistle, the Welsh Leek and the Irish shamrock. This handsome jewel-like window was designed by Gerald Moira and was probably made by James Powell and Sons. Moira was building a reputation at this time as a stained glass designer as well as a painter and muralist. He designed similar heraldic glass and painted murals for the Old Bailey in London.