Coffeehouses in London in the 18th century were the prominent form of spoken news. Each coffeehouse even had its own individual focus — from politics, to art, and even shipping news.
One particular shop, Lloyd’s, remains standing even today. Albeit with a very different purpose.
In the late 17th century, Lloyd’s attracted ship officers, traders, merchants, and bankers. The news in this shop circulated around what was happening in the shipping world.
Along with the daily reading of shipping news, people would also gather in Lloyd’s to do business and complete trade transactions.
Among the discussion in Lloyd’s over countless cups of coffee, came the realization that working together could help reduce risk of losing ships to the dangerous feat of sea-faring. Out of such discussions was born the first insurance agency offering marine insurance.
During the 18th century, several events including the American Revolution proved just how valuable insurance would be. Lloyd’s began to dominate the global shipping insurance market.
Additionally around this time, Llyod’s began publishing a weekly journal, “Lloyd’s List”, to keep readers informed about current shipping news. This journal still exists today reaching London and beyond!
In 1811, a network of insurance agents deemed “Lloyd’s Agency” was formed to connect the global market and make sure everything was running smoothly.
Lloyd’s remains standing today, in a much different-looking building than where the idea initially formed, as a prominent insurance market.
Of course, the world of insurance has changed immensely from this first agency. However, it is quite interesting to note that such an important aspect of today’s society was born out of a small coffee shop.
This goes to show just how influential spoken news truly is. Spoken news in this situation led to collaboration that allowed for the creation of a very beneficial system. While spoken news today is not nearly as prominent, the collaboration it encourages will always keep it around to at least some extent.