Building the archive
17 Jun 2008
Posted by: Anna Stone
Here at the archive we are constantly searching for new material and for ways to add to the records we already hold. In recent times we have managed to persuade the National Library of Scotland to return material to us and have had a large quantity of records returned from Aberdeen University. As a result, minute books and policy registers relating to the Northern and subsidiaries such as Scottish Metropolitan, Welsh and White Cross are now back in the group after more than 30 years.
A more unexpected find occurred closer to home, here in Norwich. During the clearing of the Co-op Dairy building, which used to be owned by Norwich Union, a former member of staff came across a series of 24 volumes of company advertising and press cuttings dating from the 1950s to the 1980s. The former employee had used the Group Archive in his private research and immediately alerted us. Thanks to his vigilance we now have cuttings for a previously unrepresented period.
However, we do not just rely on luck to gather more material. Other means include a project to identify important records still held in the basements of group office buildings.
A foray to the basements of St Helen's in London yielded almost immediate success; we found two post-war Commercial Union board minute books, which had been missing since the IRA bomb of 1992 and had been presumed lost for good. Another fascinating find was several filing cabinets full of minute books, registers and account books relating to companies involved in the formation of the Estates House Investments Trust.
We believe these books will be of great interest to researchers and historians and we'd love to hear from anyone who can tell us more about how they came into the group and the strategy involved.
We are constantly striving to ensure the archive reflects all aspects of the activities of Aviva Group companies. At the moment we are particularly focusing on building up a record of how the various constituent companies operated overseas. To this end we would really welcome any reminiscences of time spent in overseas branches and tips on where the records such as local board minutes, advertising or policy literature might be found.
Aviva Group Archive
PO Box 4
8 Surrey Street
01603 682 645