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This month the Lloyd's Register Foundation Heritage and Education Centre have been busy with Open House, a new archaeological exhibition and a fascinating family story.
Open House 2018
On Saturday 22, we once again took part in Open House London event at 71 Fenchurch Street! Open House London has been going since 1992 with the aim of giving free access to buildings across London, celebrating the capital's unique architecture, art, heritage and culture.
71 Fenchurch Street has two very different examples of architecture, the historic Collcutt building, built in 1901, and the modern and innovative Rogers building, completed in the 2000s. This year, despite the rain, we welcomed over 2000 people to 71 Fenchurch Street! As well as exploring the two buildings, we had a code-breaking trail for children, talks from architects and the new Museum of London Archaeology exhibition, 'Layers Below'. We also raised over £300 for the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution). A fantastic day was had by all! We would like to thank all the volunteers who helped us make this event so successful.
We could not do it without you! Follow us on Twitter, Instagram (@lrf_heritage_education_centre) or Facebook to see photos from the event. Let us know your thoughts of the event and share your photos!
We opened our brand new temporary exhibition, 'Layers Below - Archaeology at Lloyd's Register', on Saturday at Open House! In the 1990s, Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) carried out excavations at 71 Fenchurch Street prior to the construction of the Richard Rogers building. The excavation proved to be one of the most important in London as they uncovered several finds that were vital in shaping our understanding of Roman, Medieval and Early Modern London.
The exhibition will run for eight weeks so if you're visiting us at 71 Fenchurch Street, please have a look!
Contact Charlotte Ward if you have any questions or want to learn more.
Following the success of our summer lectures, we are launching a series of lunchtime lectures here at 71 Fenchurch Street.
These lectures will be delivered by members of the Lloyd's Register Foundation Heritage and Education Centre and will cover a plethora of subjects from the history of Lloyd's Register in six objects to digitising our archives! You can sign up by clicking the link here.
This is part of our ongoing commitment to promoting the Lloyd's Register Foundation Heritage and Education Centre to a wider audience promoting the organisation in order to uphold the values of our past, and help fulfil our mission to advance education for the benefit of society. For more information about this event or to sign up, follow our social media pages!
As well as getting enquiries from the public, we also occasionally get people contacting regarding family stories and treasures relating to Lloyd's Register. This month Margaret Smith contacted us regarding her great-uncle Norman Turnball who was the Principal Surveyor for Lloyd's Register in Italy during the 1930s. Margaret's family had been handed down a few items relating to his service in Italy including a medal and certificate.
Turnball was awarded the Corona d'Italia medal for his services in Italy. The Corona d'Italia was established in 1861 to mark the unification of Italy and historically was awarded to both civilians and military personnel. Other recipients of the medal include Arthur Conan Doyle, Vice Admiral Jules James and Vice Admiral Felice Napoleone Canevaro. Accompanying the medal is a certificate, that notes that the medal had been granted by King Vittorio Emanuele III and witnessed by his Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini.
Margaret has been kind enough to donate these wonderful and unique items to our collection.
On the 3 September 1939, the SS Athenia was hit by a German torpedo. She became the first UK ship to be sunk by Germany during the Second World War. Though she was not classed by Lloyd's Register, we do have a connection to her through Researcher Charlotte Ward's great-grandfather, George Edwin Price.
George Price served in the Royal Navy during the First and Second World Wars. In 1939 he was serving on the HMS Electra who, on the 3 September, responded to the Athenia's distress call and helped to rescue survivors. Whilst going through family records, Charlotte came across a letter, written to the crew of the Electra, from the survivors of the Athenia. Charlotte has written a blog about this story which can be accessed here.
It has been a productive September for Project Undaunted! Continuing on with our Content Management System (CMS) testing and data cleaning of the Phase 4 (Dutch & NE Coast ports), we were able to meet our deadline and send these records over for importation to our bespoke CMS. This is a pivotal step in making these records accessible to the public. Despite this, with nearly 35,000 catalogued records left to clean from other UK ports there is still much to be done!
Taking a break from the CMS testing and data cleaning (for a short while), the Project Undaunted team have switched focus to addressing a few outstanding enquiries received over the past few months. One enquiry of particular interest came from a metallurgist working closely with Parks Canada and concerns fragments of nineteenth century metal sheathing found in the Arctic. Though the official naval policy was to remove this sheathing prior to polar service, it was standard practice for wooden ships to sheath their hulls with different types of metals like copper or muntz; these would guard against general deterioration and the damaging effects of harmful molluscs like the Teredo worm. In order to try and identify which ship this sheathing came from, we have been working through a list of around twenty contemporary merchant vessels known to have operated extensively in the Arctic. Interestingly many of the ships on this list were vessels tasked with rescuing or finding any information relating to Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition of 1845. To assist the enquiry we have had to locate over a hundred separate documents relating to these ships. Enquiries like this offer an intriguing glimpse into what our collection holds, and how it can be used in the future for innovative new research. Watch this space!
Did You Know?
Around the fireplace in our General Committee room are beautiful tiles designed by William De Morgan. These tiles were particularly popular during Open House! William De Morgan, born in London in 1839, was one of the greatest and most successful arts and crafts potter and ceramicist of the nineteenth century. His designs were often based on Persian or Medieval patterns and would features motifs like galleons, fish, birds and other animals. De Morgan pioneered the rediscovery of the blue and green glazes of Persian tiles, which can be see on the fireplace in the General Committee room. His fame as a ceramicist led him to provide the tile decoration for the Livadia, the Imperial yacht of the House of Romanov. De Morgan was also a lifelong friend of William Morris and a regular collaborator with Thomas Collcutt.
His work however did not bring financial success or stability. Despite his wife's support (Evelyn De Morgan was a successful artist painting in the pre-Raphaelite style), De Morgan turned away from pottery and focused on writing novels including an An Affair of Dishonour and It Can Never Happen Again. He died in London in 1917 and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery.
De Morgan's work can be seen at the V&A, the William Morris Gallery, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, other museums and collections across the world and a plethora of National Trust properties in the UK.
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