Following the flame: Peterborough - a Civil War connection
03 Jul 2012
Posted by: Anna Stone
Subjects: Interesting stories
Aviva has not been operating in Peterborough since the Civil War. In fact our earliest known agent was F I Main who was representing Norwich Union Fire in 1806.
A century later the first of our Peterborough branches, belonging to General Accident, opened at Market Place. This was followed in 1907 with an office of Yorkshire Insurance which opened at Priestgate under G T Hill. Mr Hill was still in charge at the Yorkshire in 1929 when Norwich Union Fire opened offices at National Provincial Bank buildings under resident secretary Mr Kirk.
By 1938 Broadway and Priestgate seem to have been established as the home of insurance in Peterborough. Yorkshire Insurance was at 26 Priestgate and Employers' Liability at No 31 while Road Transport and General and General Accident were operating from offices at Broadway. General Accident's Peterborough office closed in 1943 while staff were away serving in the forces and re-opened in 1945 under G H Woodcock in these offices at 2 Queen Street.
We are fortunate, given the dearth of Peterborough photographs, that the main branch at Leicester kept some Peterborough related shots in their album. In addition to the photograph of the branch building the album also contains photographs of staff and the “GA Caravan” at the Peterborough show.
I particularly like this snapshot of the caravan from 1960...
...and the sunglasses in this colour photograph from 1962.
In 1962 General Accident's staff moved to new premises at 51 Broadway...
...and moved again in 1970 to the Road Transport and General's premises at 67 Lincoln Road.
By this date Norwich Union's staff were at 22 Church Street where this cheery photograph was taken on the retirement of manager R H (Collie) Knox in 1977.
As for the Civil War link in the title of this blog, well that relates to Yorkshire's offices at 30 Priestgate. When the company moved in, in 1952, the building was described as "one of the few architectural treasures left in Peterborough outside the cathedral precincts". Part of the premises dated back to 1550 and it had been occupied by generations of the Hake family. Thomas Hake and William Hake, both of whom were Members of Parliament for Peterborough, lived in the house and William also fought on the side of the Royalists in the Civil War.