Road Transport and General Insurance Company Ltd
Road Transport and General was established in 1918 by Thomas Tilling Ltd, to transact third party and passenger liability claims in connection with the company's bus and commercial fleets. The company was incorporated on December 24 1918 and became a subsidiary of General Accident Fire & Life Assurance Corporation in 1923.
Road Transport and General promotional blotter, c1935
Tillings had been established in 1848 with one horse and carriage but grew considerably over the following decades. At the outbreak of the First World War, most of the company's 6,000 horses were requisitioned for use in the conflict and killed. A new company, Road Transport and General, commenced business on January 1 1919 offering transit insurance to Tillings and to directors, friends and shareholders of the company.
After 1920, the company decided to branch out into the general insurance market. The company's first manager, John Frederick Heaton, was instrumental in the company's development and, in 1923, was described by Francis Norie-Miller, the general manager of General Accident, as:
A man outstandingly superior to any other Insurance man I have met recently - Francis Norie-Miller
By 1930, under Heaton's guidance, the company was offering fire, motor, workmen's compensation, sickness and accident, goods in transit, horse driving accidents, burglary, third party, property owners' indemnity, loss of profits, plate glass, guarantee, householders' traders' comprehensive and boiler insurance.
During the 1970s, the company ceased to function with a branch network. By 1991, its principal activity was providing motor insurance through the Automobile Association Insurance Services. The company went into liquidation on October 26 2006.
|1918||The company is established and incorporated|
|1923||The company becomes a subsidiary of the General Accident Fire & Life Assurance Corporation|
|1970s||The company ceases to function with a branch network|
|2006||The company goes into liquidation|
Did you know...?
Road Transport and General head office building, 1931
- When the company first moved to Hyde Park Corner, one newspaper reported that "for the first time in the history of the great city of London, business enterprise has penetrated one of the most exclusive and fashionable parts of the west end".
- During his childhood, the Earl of Airlie, who was on the board of General Accident in 1931, had lived at 3 Grosvenor Place, the new Road Transport and General head office building.
- The company was sometimes known as the Cab Horse and General Insurance Company in its early days. This was a reference to the company's first director, Richard S Tilling, who drove to the office in a horse-drawn phaeton carriage, which he liked to drive himself.
- Edgar Harrison, who retired as senior inspector at Bristol in 1967 after 40 years working for the company, was given the role of Dan Archer in the Archers in 1968.
- During the 1926 general strike, members of staff volunteered to act as drivers and conductors on the Tilling fleet.
- The company one day received a request for a quote on insuring the latest, largest and most expensive fire engine manufactured by Tilling Stevens. The clerk consulted his superior and was instructed to arrange for the vehicle to be inspected. Shortly afterwards there was a loud clanging of bells and the fire engine drew up outside to be inspected.
Subsidiaries and constituents*
|1922||Motor Credit Services Ltd.|
* Please note the first date given is the date of the establishment of the company and the second date is the date the company was acquired or became a subsidiary. Where only one date is given the company was established as a subsidiary of the parent company. Where one date is preceded by a hyphen the date of the establishment of the company is not known.
Head office premises
|1919 - 1920||Winchester House, Peckham|
|1920 - 1931||20 Victoria Street|
|1931 -1967||Grosvenor Buildings, 3 Grosvenor Place, Hyde Park Corner|
|1967 - 1988 at least||77-83 Upper Richmond Road, Putney|
Staff and Officials
|1919 - 1930||John Frederick Heaton (also secretary)|
|1930 - 1962||Charles W Smith (general manager)|
|1962 - 1966||J Nelmes Croker|
|1966 - 1969 at least||C C Loder|
|1919 - 1930||John Frederick Heaton (also manager)|
|1930 - 1950||W Watson|
|1950 - 1962||W G Orris|
|1962 - 1965||John Birnie|
|1965 - 1968||W Massey|
|1968 - 1973 at least||L R Merriman|
Road Transport and General policy header, c1935
- Richard S Tilling
- Edward W Tilling
- Walter Wolsey
- Walter Wolsey Jr
- Thomas Wolsey
Home branches and agencies
Road Transport and General proposal, 1931
Road Transport and General head office, 1920s
- Brighton (1920)
- Bristol (1920)
- Cardiff (1920)
- Glasgow (1920)
- Leeds (1920)
- Liverpool (1920)
- Manchester (1920)
- Nottingham (1920)
- London (1921)
- Birmingham (1921)
- Newcastle (1921)
- Maidstone (1926)
- Plymouth (1926)
- Sheffield (1926)
- Southampton (1926)
- Dundee (1927)
- Leicester (1928)
- St Albans (1928)
- Bradford (1929)
- Ilford (1929)
- Lincoln (1929)
- London City (1929)
- Ealing (1929)
- Norwich (1929)
- Bedford (1930)
- Burnley (1930)
- Lewisham (1930)
- Oxford (1930)
- Edinburgh (1931)
- Halifax (1931)
- Launceston (1931)
- Middlesborough (1931)
- Preston (1931)
- Swansea (1931)
- Worcester (1931)
- Shanghai, China (1931)
In the archives
The Aviva archive contains records relating to the running of the Road Transport and General Insurance Company between 1918 and 1994. The collection includes board minutes, annual reports and accounts, specimen policies, proposals, press cuttings, staff registers and journals.