Talks and tours
Somerset House Studios

Anabasis to Dora curated by Eloise Hawser #4

Thu 31 Aug 2017
City of London feat.
Lloyd's & Livery Halls

'Anabasis to Dora' is a programme of multi-site visits curated by artist Eloise Hawser, based on research into unusual and contested spaces, museums and collections around the UK.

The next series of Anabasis to Dora will visit Lloyd’s of London and the exclusive, fraternal world of London’s old livery companies. On our itinerary are the Skinners’ Hall and the recently-remodelled Salters’ Hall, as well as Richard Rogers’ Lloyds building which is normally not accessible to the public.

The Salters’ Hall is the home of the Worshipful Company of Salters, who originally preserved meat and fish before the advent of tin cans and refrigeration. Salting was also used for cleaning, dyeing fabric, bleaching, degreasing, de-hairing and softening leather, and in the formulation of medicines and ointments. Pertinently for us, the Salters’ Company had an important link with Somerset House, where a 'salt tax' used to be administered, and where the Inland Revenue itself was based for a long time.

The City’s livery companies hark back to a time when trades were highly institutionalised, hierarchized and solely male. Business was conducted behind closed doors, between families and tight networks. Yet beneath the cloistered rituals of these institutions lay the viscera of a ‘working city’: a London replete with the ingredients of daily life and their transformation. These guilds and associations also performed the duties of charitable bodies, creating alms-houses and looking after the elderly and the sick.

Forming a counterpoint with these sites will be a visit to the vast, though largely unseen, organism that is Lloyds of London. Lloyds originally grew out of London’s coffee house culture in the 17th century; indeed, it is named after Edward Lloyd’s coffee house, where the company was established in 1688. The past persists in the present at Lloyds, where they still make use of long-obsolete methods, such as hand-rung bells and paper ledgers. Such archaisms form a strange contrast with the unmistakably technological façade of Richard Rogers’ late twentieth-century building. Commissioned by Lloyds to design a new headquarters, Rodgers inverted traditional architectural logic and placed the edifice’s technology on its outside. There is something fascinating and, perhaps, rather ironic about this decision, considering the secrecy and opacity so defining of the insurance industry.

The Anabasis Tours website serves as a record of the trips, to which attendees will be invited to add images, text and other contributions. This open-ended process is intended to form a starting point for new modes of exchange.

Anabasis to Dora 1a

how to attend

We will try to include everyone whenever possible.  Where capacity is limited by the site, preference will be given to those with experience or demonstrable interest in fields of particular relevance to the visit. Attendees will be invited to document the trip in some way to share with the dedicated website.

If you are interested in joining us on this trip please send an email to by no later than Monday 27 August 2017, telling us in no more than 100 words why you are interested in this particular tour. We will let you know if we're able to confirm your place by Monday 28 August 2017. The trip is limited to a group of 18 people, due to the nature of the sites being visited, so if you would like to attend, get in touch as soon as possible.

Please note £15.00 ticket price covers the tour guide fees. If you join the tour, please make sure to bring £15.00 in cash on the day.