Thursday, December 15, 2016

A peal for the Waratah: 15 December 2016

It is 107 years ago on 15 December that the Lutine Bell pealed, announcing the loss of SS Waratah.

‘On 15 December 1909, the Waratah was officially posted as missing. Lloyd’s of London’s most famous symbol, the Lutine Bell was rung, heralding the announcement of the loss of the SS Waratah to underwriters and brokers. This action from Lloyd’s of London was profoundly final.’

Interior view of the Lloyd's of London, London 
showing the Lutine Bell, housed in the Rostrum.

In the main Underwriting Room of Lloyd's stands the Lutine bell, which was struck when the fate of a ship "overdue" at its destination port became known. If the ship was safe, the bell would be rung twice; if it had sunk, the bell would be rung once. This had the practical purpose of immediately stopping the sale or purchase of "overdue" reinsurance on that vessel. Nowadays it is only rung for ceremonial purposes, such as the visit of a distinguished guest, or for the annual Remembrance Day service and anniversaries of major world events.

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