Following the flame: Chelmsford - 199 years of history and only three photographs!
06 Jul 2012
Posted by: Anna Stone
Subjects: Interesting stories
Norwich Union Fire commenced business in Chelmsford in 1813 and five years later Norwich Union Life had appointed W Knight as agent there. It appears that either business was slow or the agent only took on good risks because in the four years from 1818 the agency only paid fire losses of £1 compared with £4288 paid at Chatham in just one year in the same period.
Aviva also has a local constituent company in the East of England Mutual Life Assurance Society which was founded in Chelmsford by Edward Butler in 1850.
The company was acquired in 1858 by Reliance Mutual Life Assurance Society which was still running a branch in Chelmsford at New Street under W S Butler in 1874.
By this date other Aviva companies operating in Chelmsford included North British and Mercantile whose agent, H S Coleman, was also based at New London Road. Another New London Road resident was West of England agent W H Fowler while E N Palmer, representing Railway Passengers, was on the High Street. That company's lists of claims included one from a Chelmsford clerk injured in the explosion of a Benzoline lamp and another made by a local manufacturer who fell from his horse.
In 1918 Norwich Union opened a Chelmsford branch at 84 High Street and G H N Parker was appointed manager. Mr Parker was still in charge in 1931 by which time General Accident had a local office on Baddow Road.
By 1933 the General Accident office had moved to Avenue Chambers in Market Road and in 1952 the staff moved again, to 55a High Street. By this date Commercial Union was also in Chelmsford having opened a sub office in 1950 at 22 London Road.
In 1954 Norwich Union staff left their High Street premises for temporary accommodation in Crane Street while this new building, which they moved in to in 1957, was erected on the site.
Six years later Road Transport and General, which kept a fantastic set of premises photographs in this period, moved in to this building at 145 New London Road.
Our final Chelmsford photograph concerns another new Norwich Union building, 60 New London Road, which they occupied in 1981. The site was unusual in having a preserved historical frontage and had been built as the Chelmsford Institute in 1841.
I'd love to hear more about our history here if any one can add to this information.