Following the flame: Ealing - featuring the dustbins of Cricklewood
24 Jul 2012
Posted by: Anna Stone
Subjects: Interesting stories
Our history in Ealing can almost certainly be traced back to the early 1730s when Hand-in-Hand and Union extended their businesses to areas within 10 miles of the City and Westminster.
Although these companies did not initially operate with an agency system Union did appoint our earliest known Ealing agent, plumber David Brill, in 1853. By 1874 Union had two agents in Ealing, J Galloway at Eaton Rise and A C Hemsley at 3 Cleveland Road. The same year Northern Assurance had an agent, S T B Trinder, on Ealing High Street.
The early 1890s saw Norwich Union Fire appoint B P P Barwell of Grove Street and in 1898 Sorlwell, Cole and Hicks was representing the company from offices at Helena Chambers Broadway.
Our first recorded Ealing branch was opened by Road Transport and General in 1929.
By 1931 the company's offices were at 8 The Mall while Norwich Union Life was at Westminster Bank Chambers in The Mall under manager C A Richer. Also operating in Ealing by 1931 was Provident Accident and White Cross with offices at 7b New Broadway under the control of manager F Percy Chaplin.
By 1938 Road Transport and General had moved to these offices at Central Chambers Broadway which were photographed for the premises department records in the 1950s.
In 1941 Norwich Union's Ealing branch moved in with the West End branch because so many of the staff had gone into the services that only the manager, Mr Watson, and Miss Margaret Harrison were left. The cartoon below was drawn by a member of staff after the war when all the London branches which had been amalgamated were split up once more for business as usual.
By 1968 General Accident had a branch in Ealing under manager G E Dixon. The branch had 60 staff including five at a sub office in Cricklewood and the branch records include this photograph of the rear of the Cricklewood office building at 71 The Broadway.
By 1971 the main Ealing branch of General Accident had moved into Road Transport and General's premises at The Broadway where they remained until a move in 1976 to Cavendish House 57-59 Uxbridge Road. In 1983 staff moved again to 86-92 Uxbridge Road and the advertisement below was produced to inform customers about the change of address.
Shortly after the advertisement appeared the manager, Freddie Bartholomew, left the branch for the relative tranquillity of the Torquay office and the former Torquay manager, Mr R E Flaxman, took his place in Ealing; I wonder which man felt he had done best out of the exchange?
I'll end with something else which puzzles me, a photograph of the dustbins outside General Accident's Cricklewood branch. To my knowledge this is the only branch dustbin photograph in the archive collection and I can't help but wonder why it was taken.