83. Dad and the Norwich Union

Norwich Union in Nottingham

At the start of 1960, dad was working for the Norwich Union in Nottingham. During this period, his working hours involved him working for half a day on a Saturday.

A Job in Manchester?

In February 1960, dad received a letter arranging an interview with a “man from Manchester” about a new job. I am not sure if this job was within the Norwich Union or not. However, a week later, he met the man in Nottingham for an interview. Mum noted that they had decided to turn the job down. A few days after that, dad received a message from Manchester offering £900. However, mum again noted that they decided to turn it down.

I don’t know why (mum and) dad decided to turn this job offer down nor how much dad was earning at this time. It appears that his salary as chief clerk in the Norwich branch, prior to April 1962, was £950 per year. This is based on a note from mum, in March 1962. This said that dad’s salary was going up £50 from 1 April 1962. It would then be £1,000 per year. In January and August 1963, mum noted that dad “stopped” overtime. By this I assume she means that he stayed and worked overtime rather than he ceased overtime.

A Course in Norwich

In March 1960, dad heard that he had to go to Norwich for a week in May. Mum had a photograph in one of her albums for this time period and it was labelled New Business Course: May 3rd – 6th 1960. Based on comments from people on the Norwich Remembers Facebook Group, it appears this may have been at Pinebanks or in a garden area of Surrey House.

Norwich Union new business course: 3rd – 6th May 1960 – dad is circled

Chief Clerk Job

On 16 June 1960, dad heard about a job as Chief Clerk at the Norwich branch of the Norwich Union.

Norwich Branch Office

The Norwich branch office of the Norwich Union was located at 19 Upper King Street in Norwich. This building was for sale in 2018 for £2.52m. According to some of the adverts at that time, the building consisted of five storeys, although I could only count four on photos, and was constructed in 1968. The ground floor currently houses a bar (Stadia) and the other floors seem to be a mixture of accommodation and office space. The building to which it is attached, which houses Arnold Keys, seems to be 2 Prince of Wales Road. It is this building I recall dad working in but it seems he may have started working in an older building.

My Recollections

I have some memories of the Norwich Union branch office building as I occasionally visited when dad worked there. My memories are of the newer building, which I understand was built in 1968. I also recall there being a car park which was accessed from St Faith’s Lane and I recall dad parking there to go to the football.  

From satellite images, the car park appears to still be there although the location differs slightly from my recollection. The bit I recall seems to be a barriered off area between Humberts at 13 Upper King Street and the Norfolk Club at 17 Upper King Street. Larking Gowen at 15 Upper King Street appears to be set back in this area. My recollections on this were kindly confirmed by John Andrews in a discussion on Norwich Remembers Facebook Group.

Norwich Union

The Norwich Union was in fact two companies, one for Fire Insurance and the other for Life Assurance. Dad always worked for the Life Office.

Dad Got the Job

On the 21 June 1960, dad went to Norwich to see about the job of Chief Clerk. He phoned mum the next day to say that he had got the job. He was due to start the job officially on 1 August 1960 but mum noted that he might go earlier. At the beginning of July, she noted that he would start in Norwich on the 25th and that we were moving to Norwich on the 22nd.

Moving Expenses?

On 16 September 1960, mum noted receiving a cheque from the Norwich Union for £151 0 1d but I am not sure what this was for. Could it have been for the costs of moving?

Studying for Exams

During this period, dad was studying at night for exams, one of which was in economics. He took these at the end of April 1960. However, in July, he heard that although he had passed one part of his exam, he had just failed another part and had failed another part by a large margin. Mum noted that he had to take “the lot” again the next year. He did this in April 1961 and, on this occasion, in July, heard that he had passed. Mum noted that this meant he was now a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (FCII). This date conflicts with an obituary in 2011 which states that he became a Fellow of the Institute in 1972.

Papers from the 1960s for the qualifying examination of the Chartered Insurance Institute
Chartered Insurance Institute tie

Teaching at City College

On 20 September 1960, mum noted that dad went to the Technical College to teach but she does not provide more details. This was a Tuesday evening. On 24 November 1960, mum noted receiving a cheque from City College, which was presumably for this. From this time on, dad went to night school most Tuesday nights between September and May. I was unsure if he was studying or continuing to teach, but from his obituary, it appears it was the latter. On 7 May 1963, dad heard that he had five lectures to give in the next fortnight at training school. He spent all day on the 12th preparing his lectures and, on the 13th, gave two lectures at Head Office.

Meetings of the Chartered Insurance Institute

Also, during this period, dad attended meetings of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) which were often held after work on a Thursday at Norwich Union Head Office. Occasionally, they were held elsewhere, e.g. at the Assembly Rooms.

Chartered Insurance Institute Annual Dinner

It appears that the CII held an annual dinner in Norwich in October and, at the 1961 event, dad was awarded his FCII certificate.

Chartered Insurance Institute Debates

In December 1962, dad attended a CII debate and he went to debates quite frequently after that, including one in Ipswich in December 1964. In March 1964, he attended a debate AGM. With the exception of the first debate, mum does not specify that these were related to CII. Initially, I thought they might either be related to chapel or dad’s interest in politics but, on balance, I suspect they were CII debates.


On 5 and 6 February 1963, dad attended a conference at Head Office. I think mum may have had a photo of this conference in her album. Although the photo is not dated, it is of the right period and was clearly taken outside Norwich Union Head Office. I am grateful to Shaun Parsley and Chris Melling from the Norwich Remembers Facebook Group for recognising that it is outside the North Tower entrance on Surrey Street.

Norwich Union conference circa 1963 – with dad circled. The photo appears to have been taken outside the entrance to the North Tower of the Norwich Union headquarters building in Surrey Street.

Social Activities at Pinebanks

During this period, we took part in various Norwich Union social activities at Pinebanks, see Chapter 81, including cricket, darts and garden parties.


Mum and dad also attended Norwich Union dances, including at the Norwood Rooms, see Chapter 81.

Grandad’s Business Dealings

Although grandad had retired from his shoe shop, he still had some business dealings.

Tax Returns

Each year, in February, he filled in his tax returns and grandma took them to the tax office for him. I am not sure why this was done in February given that the UK tax year has always run from April to April. Based on comments on the Norwich Remembers Facebook Group, it seems it may relate to the deadline for submitting self-employed tax returns which is end of January although some leeway is permitted.

When grandma and grandad lived in Kirkby, this meant going to Mansfield and, once they had moved to Drayton, this meant going into Norwich.

On two occasions during this period, he noted receiving a tax rebate and, in June 1964, a man from Inland Revenue came to assess their bungalow. I am not sure why or for what but, based on comments on the Norwich Remembers Facebook Group, it may relate to assessing property values for Schedule A, which related to profits from a business, and Land Tax.

Fred Flint

Fred Flint continued to pay off the loan he had from grandad related to the purchase of the business from him. At the start of this period, Fred Flint owed grandad £1,900. By February 1964, this had reduced to £900. In June 1963, Gordon Sugg took over the business from Fred Flint. It appears that grandad may had some legal ownership of the business. In July 1963, Cliff Green asked grandad to sign a lease for Gordon Sugg. This may have been in some kind of trustee role. In October 1963, G Wyles called to see grandad to get him to sign deeds cancelling his trusteeship re-Cliff Green. However, I think he also retained the deeds for the Station Street property. In August 1967, he returned these to Fred Flint when he paid off the final amount of the loan.


During this period, grandad also made various notes about investments he made, e.g. in Defence and Nottingham City Bonds, see Chapter 91, and cash he drew from different accounts and savings certificates.


He also started drawing his old age pension in December 1962 when he turned 65. As of June 1964, they were receiving £5 9s per week for this.