The Guarantee Society Ltd

The Guarantee Society was initially established in June 1840 as a private partnership and then, in June 1842, by deed of settlement. The society became a subsidiary of the Yorkshire Insurance Company in 1914. It finally went into liquidation in May 2007.

Company History

Guarantee society cartoon

Guarantee Society staff magazine cartoon, 1923

Guarantee society cartoon

Guarantee Society staff magazine cartoon, 1923

Guarantee society cartoon

Guarantee Society staff magazine cartoon, 1923

Guarantee society joke

Guarantee Society staff magazine joke page, 1923

The society was formed as a result of an idea by Henry Rodgers, an official at the Bank of England, to answer the problems faced by those who had been let down by friends and relatives for whom they had acted as surety. Along with George Palmer, Rodgers collected data from the Bank of England, brewers, and other bankers etc, and then canvassed various interested parties to meet at the office of Palmer, Hope and Son on September 27 1839.

The new company established as a result of this meeting offered the very first fidelity insurance. Taking the place of a wealthy friend or relative, the society guaranteed employers against loss should an individual employee embezzle or defraud them. The first prospectus was printed on December 13 1839 and, on June 24 1840, the society commenced business.

In 1891, the society was registered under the Companies Act and the deed of settlement was replaced by a modern memorandum and articles of association, which gave the society powers to undertake all classes of insurance, except life and marine. On March 2 1914, the society became a subsidiary of the Yorkshire Insurance Company Ltd (which, in turn, became a subsidiary of the General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation Ltd in 1967).

At first, fire and burglary were the only additional forms of insurance undertaken by the society but, by 1932, it was also undertaking employers' liability, accident and motor insurance. In 1976, the company's income exceeded £1 million for the first time. By 1991, the society's principal business was pecuniary loss insurance.

On March 31 2005, the general insurance business of the company was transferred to CGU Insurance. The society finally went into liquidation on May 1 2007.

Key dates

Year Event
1840 The Guarantee Society is established
1891 The society gains power to undertake all classes of insurance, except life and marine
1912 The company is first registered as a limited company
1914 Becomes a subsidiary of the Yorkshire Insurance Company
1976 Income exceeds £1 million for the first time
2002 Name changes to The Guarantee Society
2005 The company's general insurance business is transferred to CGU Insurance
2007 Goes in to liquidation

Did you know...?

  • In 1854, the society experienced its first serious claim, which was in respect of a bank official. The claim was for £3,000.
  • The society insured staff working at the Guinness brewery during the 1880s.

Head office premises

Year Address
1840 - 1845 28 Poultry, London
1845 - 1884 19 Birchin Lane, London (purchased from London Assurance)
1885 38 St Nicholas Lane, London
(temporary offices while Birchin Lane was rebuilt)
c1886 - 1931 19 Birchin Lane, London
1931 - 1957 Sun Court, Cornhill, London
1941 - 1944 Enton Mill, Whitley, Surrey (temporary wartime address)
1957 - 1998 Becket House, 36/7 Old Jewry, London
1998 - One Lloyds Avenue, London

Staff and officials

Secretary

Year Name
by 1842 - 1850 Thomas Dodgson
1850 - 1879 James Muzio
1879 - 1905 Augustus Muzio (son of James)
1905 - 1907 Alfred Dalton
1907 - 1936 Frederick Hugh Sherwell
1936 - 1939 Edgar Henry Labbett
(also manager)
1939 - 1959 C R Aveling-Tyler (also manager)
1959 - 1966 Victor John Thorndale Trumper
(as manager and secretary until 1961; then as secretary)
1966 - 1968 A D Bean
1968 - 1970 I A Chambers
1970 - 1973 A J Swift
1973 - 1977 I A Chambers
1977 - 1982 L W Mansfield
1982 - 1997 R A Whitaker
1997 - 1998 at least P M White

Manager

Year Name
1840 - 1907 No manager. It is assumed the society was run by the secretary during this period
1907 - 1936 Frederick Hugh Sherwell
1936 - 1939 Edgar Henry Labbett (also secretary)
1939 - 1959 C R Aveling-Tyler (also secretary)
1959 - 1961 Victor John Thorndale Trumper
1961 - 1968 H Phillips Smith
1968 - 1977 H W Sheppard
1977 - 1990 Douglas Procter
1990 - c 1995 A D Grant
Guarantee society proposal

Guarantee Society proposal, 1964

Guarantee society specimen cert

Guarantee Society specimen share certificate

Guarantee society animation

Guarantee Society staff magazine animation, 1923

Guarantee staff magazine

Guarantee Society staff magazine, 1923

Directors (1846)

  • James Colquhoun
  • Charles Sanderson
  • Thomas Attree
  • Mayow Wynell Adams
  • John Benson
  • Patrick Colcuhoun
  • Captain John Enoch
  • Abraham Lindo Mocata
  • Major General B B Parlby CB
  • Francis Lysons Price
  • George Scovell
  • William Slark

Directors (1914)

  • Augustus C Scovell
  • A G Brodrick
  • H K Cannan
  • W T Coles
  • T F Fremantle (later Lord Cottesloe)
  • W Stebbing
  • M Stebbing

Home branches and agencies

  • Manchester (29 September 1841; branch by 1914)
  • Birmingham (by 1849; branch by 1914)
  • Bradford (by 1849)
  • Bolton (by 1849)
  • Coventry (by 1849)
  • Chester (by 1849)
  • Edinburgh (by 1849)
  • Glasgow (by 1849)
  • Huddersfield (by 1849)
  • Liverpool (by 1849; branch by 1914)
  • Newcastle (by 1849; branch by 1938)
  • Norwich (by 1849)
  • Nottingham (by 1849; branch by 1938)
  • Sheffield (by 1849; branch by 1938)
  • Wakefield (by 1849)
  • York (by 1849)
  • Leeds (branch by 1914)
  • Cardiff (by 1938)

Overseas agencies

  • Dublin, Ireland (by 1849)

In the archives

The Aviva archive contains records relating to the running of the Guarantee Society from 1839 to 1997. The collection includes salaries books, minutes, seal registers, policies, proposals and share transfer books.

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