Following the flame: Derby - 215 years of history
29 Jun 2012
Posted by: Anna Stone
Subjects: Interesting stories
Derby is another place on the Olympic flame route where we have operated for a long time with very few archive records to show for it. Our first recorded agency belongs to Norwich General whose agent, William Pritchard, was operating there by the time this advertisement was printed in 1797.
His appointment was followed by that of Thomas Storer for Norwich Union Life in 1818, William Maveritt for North British in 1824 and Frederick Simpson, who was representing Yorkshire Fire and Life by 1828.
By 1863 Commercial Union had appointed an agent in Derby and by 1895 Railway Passengers were also operating there. That company's list of claims for 1895 includes £24 paid to a commercial traveller from Derby who sprained his ankle while rescuing a woman and child from drowning.
The next chronological reference we have in the archive dates from 1906 when T J Beck was Provident Mutual's agent in Derby based at the Railway Station.
By 1931 both Ocean Accident and General Accident were operating from Albert Street, at Banks Chambers and No 4 respectively, while Commercial Union was at 49 Queen Street under manager Walter Hughes. At the same date North British and Mercantile was at 10 Iron Gate under W Payne, and A E Quantrill was local secretary for Scottish Union and National at St James's Chambers. Employers' Liability was at 14 Corn Market under C H Castledine while Norwich Union's resident secretary, F H Bullen, was also in Corn Market, at No 41.
We have a very interesting agency register for Norwich Union in Derby in this period which reflects the huge variety of occupations engaged in by the company's agents. According to the register our agents included solicitors, painters and decorators, confectioners, auctioneers, motor engineers and dental surgeons.
There was also a man who gave his occupation as "electrical, radio and cycle engineer and dealer" and another listed as "monumentalist". Nor was the role of agent a purely male preserve, the list includes a lady publican from the Shakespeare Inn in nearby Repton and one lady who gave her occupation as "household duties".
In 1952, when the register ends, Norwich Union was still operating from Corn Market while Ocean Accident was at 37 Queen Street and North British and Mercantile was at 47 Full Street under resident inspector N Ward. General Accident was still at 4 Albert Street, now under resident secretary F Johnson, and that company's subsidiary, Road Transport and General, was in these premises at St Mary's Chambers.
In 1954 Commercial Union's Derby staff moved from offices at 7 St Mary Gate to 12 The Strand and in 1957 they moved again to 38 Iron Gate. They were joined there the following year by the staff of their subsidiary, Ocean Accident, who sent this photograph of their accommodation into the staff magazine of 1959.
In 1961 Norwich Union also moved to new offices in Iron Gate which must have been practically next door to Commercial Union as the address given is 35-36. The new building was three stories high and came with a car park for 30 cars and an electric under-floor heating system.
According to the staff magazine, the new building had "been decoratively faced with green vitriolite panels outlined with reconstituted white stone and an outer border of blue slate." Sadly the artist's impression below, being black and white, does not allow us to see this exterior in its full splendour!