Following the flame: Chester - insuring trophies for cows?
29 May 2012
Posted by: Anna Stone
Subjects: Interesting stories
Our first known Chester agent was J Lewis who was representing Norwich Union Life by 1818. By the following year Norwich Union Fire also had an agency and by 1824 a new agent, R W Lloyd, had been appointed for the Life Society.
By 1835 Yorkshire Insurance had an agent, J Topsham, operating at City Walls and in 1836 the policy below was taken out by John Whittle, a local solicitor.
Incidentally, other solicitors on today's Olympic Flame route appear to have found insurance policies attractive. A solicitor from Rhyl received £20 under his policy with Scottish Accident in 1894 when he "slipped on a turnip" and strained the muscles in his knee.
In 1901 General Accident had a district agent for Chester, Frederick Poley, and in 1932 a sub office was opened. Based at 21 Eastgate Row North the office telephone number was Chester 2167. In 1944 General Accident's Chester operations were a victim of the war although not this time as a result of bombing raids. Manager E L McCully retired and as his secretary was working full time for the VAD the office was closed.
The building was occupied instead by the American Red Cross Society but there was a noticeable reduction in premium income for the main branch at Liverpool whose manager wrote "we must get Chester sub-office opened as soon as the American Red Cross vacate the premises."
In 1946 the branch re-opened under C B Pimlett. He had been spotted a year earlier, while working as an inspector at Liverpool, by the managing director whose report said he was "well spoken and of good appearance" and that "he deserves encouragement."
In 1970 General Accident's Chester office became a full branch under the management of J M Fulford. The following year it moved to share Road Transport and General's 14 Stanley Place premises. Records show that premium income for the branch was £245,035 in 1971.
Staff in the Chester branch this date were: R G Coles; V J Wilbraham; W F Knott: T G Bond: N S Webber; D W Barge; Miss K A Karran; R S Trickey and M A Piggott. At about this time Commercial Union's staff at Chester were photographed and the resulting mug shots put into an album.
In 1972 General Accident staff in Stanley Place had to shuffle their desks closer together as Yorkshire Insurance staff moved in from their premises at 23 Eastgate Row.
Space was obviously tight and new offices were built at 38 City Road in 1977...
...and the official opening, under manager Harry Kinnear, took place in October.
By this date my favourite branch policy had been in place for 25 years. It covered a selection of trophies belonging to the North Western British Friesian Breeders Club whose beautiful headed notepaper significantly brightens up the Chester branch file.