West of Scotland Insurance Office Ltd

Established on December 10 1886 as the West of Scotland Fire Office Ltd, the company changed its name to the West of Scotland Insurance Office Ltd on June 16 1904. The company became a subsidiary of the Commercial Union Assurance Company Ltd in March 1924 and was dissolved on March 3 2005.

Company History

West of Scotland Insurance Office advertisement, 1906

West of Scotland Insurance Office complimentary golf manual, c1929

West of Scotland Insurance Office burglary prospectus

The company was founded by George Macgregor, an employee of the Scottish Union & National Insurance Company. Macgregor noticed that, at the time, none of the country's fire insurance companies had a head office in Glasgow and was confident that, if one was established, it would get good local support.

In 1903, the company extended its business to :

"carry on the business of insurance in all its branches except life assurance."

Initially, the only additional class of insurance undertaken was burglary but, from 1907, the company began offering employers' liability insurance as well. In 1909, the company extended its operations overseas and, in 1914, established the Home and Foreign Re-insurance Company Ltd to absorb reinsurance treaty contracts with German and Austrian companies that had been terminated at the start of the First World War.

By 1929, the company was offering fire, burglary, loss of profits, workmen's compensation, third party, public liability, personal accident, plate glass, property owners' liability, fidelity guarantee and bonds of caution, securities in transit and motor car insurance. In 1975, the company's fire and accident insurance was wholly reinsured with Commercial Union and, by 1981, it had stopped trading.

The company was re-registered as a private company on December 22 1981. The company changed its name to CGU Insurance Ltd on December 15 1998 and was renamed the West of Scotland Insurance Office on October 1 1999.

Key dates

Year Event
1886 The company is established
1904 Name changes to the West of Scotland Insurance Office
1914 The company establishes the Home and Foreign Re-insurance Company
1924 The company becomes a subsidiary of the Commercial Union Assurance Company
1981 The company ceases trading
1981 The company is re-registered as a private company
1998 Name changes to CGU Insurance
1999 Name changes back to the West of Scotland Insurance Office
2005 The company is dissolved

Subsidiaries and constituents*

Year Company name
1894 Scottish Re-insurance Company
1899 - 1901 Western Fire Insurance Company
1914 Home and Foreign Re-insurance Company Ltd (sold to Commercial Union in 1914)

* 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

Glasgow

Year Address
1886 - 1890 28 Renfield Street
1890 - 1890 30 Renfield Street (swapped premises with the City of Glasgow Life Assurance Company in exchange for a share of its fire insurance business)
1890 - c1893 30a Renfield Street
by 1893 - 1900 32 Renfield Street
1900 - 1931 131-133 St Vincent Street
1931 - 1958 at least 145 Vincent Street

London

Year Address
1893 - 4 Abchurch Yard, Abchurch Lane
by 1923 - 1927 5 Walbrook
1927 - 1934 81 Cannon Street
1934 - 1940 at least 3 Birchin Lane
by 1943 - 1958 at least 24 Cornhill

Registered office

Year Address
by 1960 - 1969 24 Cornhill, London
1969 - St Helen's, 1 Undershaft, London

Staff and officials

Manager

Year Name
1891 - 1928 George Macgregor (also secretary)
1929 - 1937 Colin R Prosser (also secretary)
1937 - 1943 John Henderson
1943 - 1958 A J Makins (position changed to general manager)
1958 - 1968 at least F E P Sandilands
Position not listed after 1968

Secretary

Year Name
1886 - 1914 George Macgregor (manager from 1891)
1914 - 1937 Colin R Prosser (manager from 1929)
1937 - 1943 John Henderson
1943 - 1960 R K Lochhead
1960 - 1965 L S Cooper
1965 - 1971 H T Frost
1971 - 1973 J Linbourn
1973 - 1977 D R Cobden
1977 - 1981 at least G T Spratt

Directors (1886)

  • William Jacks
  • Thomas Watson
  • Neil Robson
  • James Fleming
  • James Edward Stoddart
  • Duncan Campbell
  • Robert Paterson
  • James Brown Fleming

Home agencies

  • Carlisle (1887)
  • Lanark (1887)
  • Edinburgh (1887)
  • Leeds (1887)
  • Leith (1887)
  • Manchester (1887)
  • Wolverhampton (1887)
  • Perth (1887)
  • Belfast (1887)
  • Cardiff (1887)
  • Ayr (1887)
  • Dundee (1887)
  • Newcastle (1887)
  • Aberdeen (1887)
  • Halifax (1887)
  • Paisley (1888)
  • Stirling (1888)
  • Bradford (1888)
  • Bristol (1890)
  • Sunderland (1890)
  • Oldham (1891)
  • Bolton (1892)

Home branches

  • Edinburgh (1887)
  • London (1893)
  • Liverpool (1895)
  • Bristol (1898)
  • Manchester (1899)
  • Birmingham (1900)
  • Carlisle (1923)
  • Aberdeen (1925)
  • Dundee (1926)

Overseas branches and agencies

  • Dublin, Ireland (1890)
  • Gothenburg, Sweden (1909)
  • Antwerp, Belgium (1909)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark (1909)
  • Istanbul, Turkey (1909)
  • Paris, France (by 1924)
  • Brussels, Belgium (by 1924)
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands (by 1924)
  • Havre, France (by 1924)
  • Bordeaux, France (by 1924)
  • Alexandria, Egypt (by 1924)
  • Cairo, Egypt (by 1924)
  • Bombay, India (by 1924)
  • Calcutta, India (by 1924)
  • Rangoon, Myanmar (Burma) (by 1924)
  • Shanghai, China (by 1924)
  • Mexico (by 1924)

In the archives

The Aviva archive contains records relating to the running of the West of Scotland Insurance Office between 1886 and 1997. The collection includes board minutes, registers of members, registers of transfers, annual reports and accounts and proposals.

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