Following the flame: Cheltenham - heavily featuring Oriel Lodge
23 May 2012
Posted by: Anna Stone
Subjects: Interesting stories
We know that Norwich Union Fire was operating in Cheltenham by 1816 and that Norwich Union Life's Cheltenham agent in 1818 was F Rawlings. The company appointed a new agent, G A Williams, in 1824 who was still representing them in 1868.
Towards the end of the century Railway Passengers Assurance were operating in Cheltenham. Records show £500 compensation was paid to the family of a local livery stable keeper who drove into a ditch on a dark night in 1886.
For our more recent history in Cheltenham we can only rely on General Accident whose sub branch opened at Idmiston House, High Street in 1929. Fortunately a picture is worth a thousand words and General Accident kept an exemplary photographic record.
From 1933 the branch was based at General Buildings, Oriel Road which had previously been a private house called Oriel Lodge.
The number of staff in 1933, including those at Gloucester sub office, totalled 28 and their combined salaries were £3,917. Premium income for the branch for the year was £43,560. The manager was Mr W G Barnes shown below at his desk in 1938...
...and receiving a presentation from branch and company dignitaries the same year.
In 1956 the staff magazine reported that a partner in the firm Davey Son & Jones, who were General Accident agents, had been chosen to captain the Great Britain Water Polo team at the Melbourne Olympics. The man in question, John Shaw Jones, also represented his country at Helsinki in 1952 and at the last London Games in 1948.
The General Accident branch moved again in 1967 to new premises built in the garden of Oriel Lodge. Naturally the event was recorded for posterity, shown here during the construction phase.
By this date the branch had sub offices at Swindon, Stroud, Cirencester and Cinderford. The premium income for 1967 totalled £415,628 and the offices had a combined staff of 87. Sadly none of the staff, whose joint salaries were £60,830, feature in the photographs below...
...perhaps they were all hiding under their new desks?