Following the flame: Haringey - sportsmen and a wet cat
25 Jul 2012
Posted by: Anna Stone
Subjects: Interesting stories
Our only specifically identified agents for Haringey were Thomas Robert Edwards, and Warran and Stupart Estate agents who represented Norwich Union Fire in the mid 1890s and early 1900s respectively.
In 1955 Ocean Accident's North London branch moved from Upper Street Islington, where it had been based since 1905, to 77-79 High Road Wood Green, Haringey. The photograph below shows the interior of the new "modern" branch...
...which was obviously a change from the cluttered interior of the old Islington premises, below.
Two years later Union's North London staff moved to new premises at 141 High Street Southgate which must have also been home to Commercial Union and it was from there that they moved in 1965 into these new premises at Northway House, High Road, Whetstone.
Among the Ocean Accident staff at this time was Ralph C F Nichols. Nichols was a five-time winner of the All England Open Badminton Championships whose achievements were regularly recorded in the staff magazines of the 1930s. He retired from the North London branch in 1968 and on his death in 2001 was still the last British player to win the All England championships. Nichols also played for England, is listed on the Badminton Hall of Fame and even appeared on cigarette cards of sporting heroes but sadly I don't have a photograph of him in the archive.
Another sporting hero on the route of the flame today is Stanley L Jones who was based in Provident Accident and White Cross's Enfield branch. Jones was appointed resident secretary at Enfield in 1919 and later became the first branch manager. He represented England in the cycling at the Stockholm Olympic games in 1912.
Our final sporting link for Haringey is this photograph of a Lonsdale Belt won in 1918 by middleweight boxer Pat O'Keefe. The belt, made of porcelain and 22 carat gold, was insured through Commercial Union's North London branch in 1975.
I'll end with a North London branch claim reported (with suitable illustration) in the Commercial Union staff magazine of 1978. The insured described how his cat, which was in the habit of sleeping on top of the fish tank, failed to notice that the lid had been removed and landed in the tank rather than on it. The resulting splash damaged a radio which was the subject of his claim.