By Misha Ansell
Having joined the Lloyd's Register Foundation Heritage and Education Centre for my work experience, I had the pleasure of seeing a vast amount of historical treasures - from Yacht plans to the exquisite old library. I would say that my favourite ‘thing’ would be the architecture and design of the building. The building remains true to its original roots, keeping the elegant and sophisticated design which Thomas Collcutt had hoped for. I feel very honoured to have been given the opportunity to spend a week at the Centre, working with the lovely team and taking part in exciting and new challenges!
The Building itself is full of beauty and richness, each day I spent at the Centre I saw a new and intriguing piece of architecture, or found a historical treasure hidden in the depths of the building. It is often easy to miss or fail to appreciate the historical beauty we have at our fingertips, especially in modern society with the rapid development of technology. This is why the Collcutt building particularly grabbed my attention; it was exciting and surprisingly refreshing to be working in an environment filled with a vast amount of heritage.
One of my favourite things from the magnificent building is the grand staircase. The white marble tiles are dressed with a dark red carpet, covered in blue embroidery which trails elegantly down the staircase. Whether I was walking up the 37 steps (yes I counted them) for a cup of tea or simply admiring the Sicilian marble as I walked through the entrance hall, I was impressed with the staircase. The carpet on the stairs is a 1947 replica of the original Turkey carpet specified by Collcutt and supplied by Maples & Co. Over the second flight there is a round stained-glass window. The window was designed by Gerald Moira, who at the time was starting to build up quite the reputation for designing stained glass – he even painted murals for the Old Bailey in London. At first glance, I merely appreciated the beauty of the window and the iridescent glow it catches from the morning sun. However, delving deeper and my admiration of the window growing, I noticed the window illustrated the emblems of Great Britain: the English rose, the Scottish thistle, the Welsh leek and the Irish shamrock.
Besides the extravagant staircase, the pair of speckled grey lions in the entrance hall also caught my eye. Gifted to Lloyd’s Register by Francisco Schiaffino, the first Lloyd’s Register surveyor to be appointed at Genoa in 1872, these two lions are nineteenth century versions of a bronze group of twelve similar lions sculpted in 1651 by Matteo Bonicelli. The Lion has been long associated with Genoa, one of the most important ports in Italy. I would suggest, the presence of the two lions guarding the entrance hall, shows the morals and characteristics of Lloyd’s Register. Lions symbolize strength, courage and determination, as well as authority and justice. As they sit protecting the entrance hall, they reiterate to the many clients who have passed them, the standards of Lloyds Register and the service which clients will receive.
I had a great time working in the Heritage and Education Centre team. Every member of the team made me feel welcomed and included – giving me a real sense of what work is like. Working in the Collcutt building will definitely be my favourite memory of my time here - especially the tour Sean gave me on my first day! My experience was enjoyable and beneficial in deciding what I would like to do after sixth form. The Collcutt building is well suited for the HEC department as it reflects the qualities of the team; hardworking, passionate and dedicated to their jobs.
We want to thank Misha for all her hard-work whilst she was with us and wish her all the best for her future!
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