Following the flame: Waltham Forest - our oldest policy so far
21 Jul 2012
Posted by: Anna Stone
Subjects: Interesting stories
Today the flame reaches Waltham Forest where our oldest constituent, Hand-in-Hand, was authorised to cover 'houses or chambers' from damage by fire from 1731.
It is likely that Union Assurance, also known as Double Hand-in-Hand, extended its business to insure "contents of chambers or rooms" in the area from a similar date.
As these companies did not employ agents in this period our earliest known agents in the area were John Self of Walthamstow (then called Waltham Stow) and Barker and Bryant of Leyton (Layton) who were representing Norwich Union Life by 1824.
50 years later General Life had an agent, E Clarke, at Grove Road Villas...
...and in 1890 Norwich Union Fire appointed Thomas B Saunders agent for Waltham.
As there is so little to say I've managed to find some information on other areas along the route today such as Hackney, where Norwich Union Fire appointed Elizah Reed agent in 1893, and Greenwich, where Norwich Union had an agent as early as 1821. We also have a reference to a claim paid by Railway Passengers in the late 1870s for an artist from Greenwich who broke his leg while wading through water.
I'll end with a quick reference to our earliest policy in Wapping in Tower Hamlets which the flame also passes today. The entry below comes from our first Hand-in-Hand policy register and refers to a policy taken out on a building on the west side of New Market Street near Wapping Dock on 21 September 1702.