Sun Insurance Office Ltd, staff scrapbook (largely compiled by Eden Phillpotts) and photograph album
The scrapbook was started by the author and poet Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960) during his period of employment with the firm at the Charing Cross branch. Although born in India Phillpotts was educated in Plymouth and most of his prolific literary output is set in Devon and particularly around Dartmoor. Although the majority of his work was published after he left the firm, at least one novel A Deal with the Devil (1895) was published during his time with the Sun Fire Office. The first 172 pages of the scrapbook covering the period from 1884 to 1898 are clearly compiled by Phillpotts and contain examples of his prose, poetry, cartoons and sketches. The focus is on the more humorous side of office life with frequent accounts of "receipting championships" involving Walter Helmer. There are also telegrams, letters (including two from a member of staff serving in the Boer War) and invoices pasted into his section of the scrapbook.
Following the departure of Phillpotts from the firm the scrapbook becomes more serious in tone between 1917 and 1965. Particular detail is provided on the period 1939-1947 when the Charing Cross branch was evacuated to Mickleham Downs House, near Dorking in Surrey. The range of material includes notices to staff, letters, extracts from staff magazines, certificates, newspaper cuttings and photographs. The photograph album contains twenty four photographs of named members of staff at their desks and photographs of staff engaged in sporting activities such as athletics and tennis, as well as photographs of premises including 60 Charing Cross.
Records were donated by Mr Martin, Sun Alliance and London Insurance Company, Trafalgar Square, London, in October 1970.
Administrative / biographical background:
The firm was originally established in 1710 and operated as the Sun Fire Office until 1891. From 1893 to 1926 it conducted business as Sun Insurance Office, then Sun Insurance Office Ltd 1927-1966 and from 1968 as Sun Alliance and London Insurance Group. Although the firm's head office was at 63 Threadneedle Street this material relates to the Charing Cross branch located at 60 Charing Cross until 1936 and from 1937 at 60 Trafalgar Square.