Lloyd’s Register Foundation, Heritage & Education Centre, London

A stunning Palazzo building houses the extraordinary library and archive of Lloyd's Register, covering over 250 years of marine and engineering science and history. Charlotte Ward, Education and Outreach Coordinator, took the chance to open up the site and collections in a new way over Heritage Open Days in 2019.

© C. Ward - A stunning building from every angle

Why we take part

Though we are open to the public as a library, archive and research facility, we are not able to have members of the public visit to have a look around our beautiful historic building. HODs provided us with the perfect opportunity to not only take part in a popular national event but to also see how opening our doors for visitors on a weekday would work.

What we do for HODs

On entering our 1901 building you can experience Lloyd’s Register’s heritage brought to life through costumed characters, finds from our archive, an interactive exhibition, and try being a virtual reality ship surveyor!

Working with new partners

Partnership working - the Lottie dolls from WES on tour at Lloyds / © C. Ward

  • We invited Past Pleasures, a costumed interpretation company, to bring Thomas Collcutt (original architect) to life and turn back time to the building’s opening in 1901. We loved seeing how excited and interested people were in meeting with Collcutt and learning more about his work and inspiration for the building. It was the first time we worked with them and we thoroughly enjoyed it! 
  • Thanks to the HODs team, we were put in touch with the Women's Engineering Society (WES) who were celebrating 100 years. They were able to join our event, sparking interest and discussions regarding the women in our history.

Favourite moment

Getting to grips with surveying ships / © C. Ward

We loved seeing people take part in our new VR experience. It allows people to experience what it would have been like to survey ships in the 19th century, finding the faults in the ship that would impact its overall safety. It was great seeing members of the public engage with this experience, learn but, most importantly, enjoy it and have fun! 

Nice surprises

We were surprised by just how popular we were as an attraction. Being in the City of London and not being a particularly well-known organisation, we did not expect that many people would show up. We were pleasantly surprised that we had 173 visitors through our door!

The difference it's made

Best foot forward for the festival! / © C. Ward

We produced more online content, including blogs, for visitors to learn more about our history and collection and provided QR codes around the building for visitors to scan. Combined with the help of the HODs team, we saw an 80% increase in website hits across our open days.

Top tip

Get your application form in as soon as possible! It meant that the HODs team were really able to support us in the build up to our event and we were able to make the most of the free marketing materials!

Inspired? Find out more...