Wash drawing made at the time by H.M. Paget

Yesterday we had a great day at Lloyd's. The Naval Brigade from H.M.S. Powerful, which was landed for the defence of Ladysmith and relief of Kimberley, were to come up to London from Portsmouth, be reviewed by the Prince of Wales at the Horse Guards then march via the embankment to the City, to the Royal Exchange, and when there be entertained at 'tea' at Lloyd's. It was another Jubilee; the route of the procession was decorated, London took a holiday and came out in its millions; for hours down many of the principal streets there was no wheeled traffic. Harry Wrightson and I had a week ago volunteered to act as stewards, or rather waiters, at the meal and both of us were lucky enough to get the position, many more applied than were wanted so the positions were balloted for.
Almost no work was done at Lloyds all day though the Powerfuls were not to arrive till 4.15p.m. The rooms were gay with flags of all sizes most men had small flags to wave in their hands and the desks were covered with red baize to enable us to stand on them without damage. One of the big rooms which is usually devoted to many big registers, etc., had been cleared out and long tables to seat 350 set out prettily with fruit and flowers, besides, of course, decorations of the flag order.
The inside of the Royal Exchange was also decorated and chairs placed round. Some seats were balloted for by Lloyd's; Harry and Cousin Ernest (Sir Ernest E. Cooper of Hartley, Cooper & Co., Lord Mayor of London 1919-20) received one apiece, which were used by Cousin Lorna (wife of Sir Ernest E. Cooper) and Mary.
As the time drew near the excitement became more and more intense, the least thing set everyone cheering. At 3 p.m. the band of the Royal Marines came up into Lloyd's and occupied one of the small side rooms and played a fine selection of music. We stewards were put in our places and given directions as to our duties and got all ready some time before the time we expected the men. Then I secured a place on a window sill high up inside the Exchange, getting through a window and so looked down on to the scene below. At about 4.30 the cheering in the streets told of the arrival of the Powerfuls who soon entered the building in a long procession, the guns bringing up the rear. They brought with them one gun painted khaki and two Maxims painted the same. They were mostly Jack Tars but there were about 50 marines. The reception the men got was great but nothing to what they got when, after piling arms below, they trooped up the stairs into Lloyd's and marched round the big underwriting room which was crammed full of men yelling themselves hoarse and waving flags.
After marching round the room they trooped into the tea room where we gave them another welcome, and as there were about 70 of us we made quite a good noise. There was such a squash that it was difficult to wait properly, apparently more men having turned up than was expected. A large band of the Coldstream Guards, which had been playing the Brigade through the streets, also came in and occupied a table which had been meant for carving, plates, etc., so that the procuring of food was difficult; however, drink was more easily obtained. We gave them tea, ginger beer, beer, stout, salmon beef, lamb, pies, tongue, chicken, ham and fruit, etc. (all cold), and finally each man was given a circular silver tobacco box and each officer a silver cigarette case with the Lloyd's arms on it.
The men were most appreciative and seemed especially struck by having gentlemen waiting on them.
At the end of the meal the Vice-Chairman of Lloyd's made a speech, replied to by Captain Lambton, who had served with his men at Ladysmith. Then the men trooped out amidst more frightful row, and I got out with them behind an officer who was shaking hands right and left as hard as he could go all the way down into the Exchange, where the men fell in and marched out, this time with guns first. I followed out hoping to be able to see some of the route but before I reached the Mansion House the mounted police barred the way and I saw nothing more than a dense pack of people, so dense that it was quite a quarter of an hour's job to get into Queen Victoria Street.
Today we all congratulate ourselves on everything having gone off well as far as Lloyd's is concerned.
One thought comes, if this is what happens over the Naval Brigade, what will London be like when (as he is sure to) Lord Roberts and some of his victorious troops march through London, say, to the Mansion House to receive the welcome and congratulations of the City - the Jubilee simply will not be in it."
[Written by Mr. Robert Wrightson. This article originally appeared in "Irons In The Fire", a brief history of the Matthews Wrightson Group of Companies, published in 1952.]