Following the flame: Hastings - where we purchased a plate glass company
17 Jul 2012
Posted by: Anna Stone
Subjects: Interesting stories
I have been able to find out very little about Aviva's activities in Hastings despite our earliest links with the town dating back to 1818. By this date Norwich Union Life had appointed P M Powell as agent and he was followed in 1824 by George Jackson.
The 1851 trade directories don't refer to any Norwich Union agencies in Hastings but General Life, Union Assurance and Edinburgh Life all had agents there by this date.
A decade later and Norwich Union Fire had appointed Jonathan Reeves of 3 Bank Buildings as agent and he was still representing the society in 1890. By 1866 in addition to Norwich Union and Mr Reeves there were eight other Aviva constituent companies operating in Hastings including Accidental Death, under Robinson Funnell of 51 George Street, and City of Glasgow Life which was represented by William Feist Bridger.
By 1890 Scottish Accident was also operating in Hastings and the letter below was sent to policyholders to inform them that the company's agent, L O Glenister, had handed his agency to R H Jacks who was manager of the Capital and Counties Bank in Hastings.
The 1890s also saw the foundation of our only local constituent company, the Hastings and St Leonards and District Mutual Plate Glass Insurance Company. The company was established in Hastings in March 1895 and in 1908 its goodwill and business was purchased by Yorkshire Insurance for £600. The policy below, taken out by local furniture dealers Steeves and Sons in 1911, records the amalgamation.
The policy also gives the Yorkshire local branch address as 16 Havelock Road. Havelock Road seems to have become the centre for insurance in Hastings and in 1928 General Accident opened an office there at No 41 under the control of H R Brassey. Mr Brassey had been spotted by the general manager on one of his visits to Brighton branch and his suitability for promotion noted. In 1934 the general manager also spotted the need for improved accommodation in Hastings and by 1938 the sub office had moved to these offices in 39 Cambridge Road under T H Morgan.
Despite suffering considerable damage in June 1944 when a flying bomb exploded in the area the office remained at Cambridge Road until at least the 1980s. This photograph of the branch, with a rather unflattering paint job, was probably taken in the mid 1970s.
Meanwhile, in 1950, Ocean Accident moved to offices at 10 Havelock Road and by 1952 Road Transport and General was in these offices at No 20.
In 1956 Norwich Union moved from 43 Kings Road St Leonards to London Road. The photograph below, which appeared in the staff magazine, shows the interior of the new offices.
At some point in the 1980s General Accident's branch at Cambridge Street was packed up and this photograph was taken of the empty rooms.
I would love have more information on our activities in Hastings so please get in touch if you can help.