Did you know that Lloyd’s of London enabled Ian Botham to play professional football?
After opting out of the 1984 cricket tour of India, he decided instead to play football for Scunthorpe United. His club weren’t happy with his decision and it was only after the TCCB and Scunthorpe both insured him that he was able to play:
“I’m the only footballer in the fourth division who’s insured for £1 million.”
Botham is of course widely known for his performances in the Ashes. That trophy has been insured at Lloyd’s since 1926, when it was displayed at an exhibition. It was the first time it had left the possession of Lord Darnley and was insured for £5,000.
Five years later, England bowler Walter Robins pulled out of the Ashes, instead focussing on his career as a marine underwriter at Lloyd’s.
In 1988, the Ashes travelled to Australia but the MCC only agreed on the basis that they must be transported securely. Upon hearing that, Prince Charles agreed to carry the urn in his luggage but only after it had been insured at Lloyd’s for £70,000.
When the Ashes travelled again in 2006, Prince Charles wasn’t able to act as security, underwriters therefore stipulated that it must have its own first-class seat and be kept in a bullet-proof case upon arrival.
In 1970, when Chairman of Lloyd’s, Sir Henry Mance travelled to the US, a newspaper wrote:
“Lloyd’s has lots in common with cricket. Both are terribly traditional and woefully misunderstood.”
That said, even Hollywood has had a cricket club since the 1930’s. Players have included actress Olivia de Havilland (who held a $25,000 Lloyd’s policy in case she was accidentally punched whilst filming a scene) and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. (one of Lloyd’s first celebrity clients with a $500k ‘scarface’ policy). Coincidentally, the team was founded by Sir Aubrey Smith, star of the 1936 film, Lloyd’s of London.
Walter Lawrence played first-class cricket for Oxford University and made his debut against Middlesex in 1954. Upon graduation, he became an underwriter and rose to the position of Chairman of Lloyd’s in 1988.
Another first-class cricketer from Oxford was aviation underwriter Robin Eliot who made his debut in 1961. Arthur Whatman, wicket-keeper for Suffolk CCC also became an underwriter after retiring from the sport but left in 1914 to serve in the Great War.
Former England batsman, Derek Amiss was a ‘Name’ at Lloyd’s and fast-bowler Merv Hughes insured his moustache for £370,000.
Who can name the bowler who’s about to launch one towards M Bar?
This photograph is of Edward George Titley, a Lloyd’s underwriter who is commemorated on the Leadenhall Street War Memorial.
Mr. Titley studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge and played two first-class cricket games for Cambridge as wicketkeeper. In one game against Sussex, he was caught out by future England player Jim Parks. He joined Lloyd’s after graduating in 1933 and spent five years in the market before joining the RAF as a pilot.
In 1940 he was trained to fly the Supermarine Spitfire and took to the skies that year. On one flight, he blacked-out and as he descended, almost clipped another Spitfire. He was found to have an inner-ear problem and subsequently declared unfit for high-altitude flying.
By 1943, he had risen to the position of Squadron Leader and his group were responsible for low patrols across the United Kingdom. That same year, he was killed when his Bristol-Beaufort aircraft span and caught fire. Mr. Titley was just 31 years old.