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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/B/192
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1684-2007
Level of description: Collection
View subfonds/series records
Extent: 5744 production units.
Name of creator(s): Various.


Administrative/Biographical history:

The history below relates to Sun Insurance Office Limited only. For the histories of subsidiary companies and companies which merged with Sun Insurance please see their sub-fonds entries (CLC/B/192-02 to -37).

In 1708 Charles Povey founded the Exchange House Fire Office. In the next year, a Company of London Insurers was formed, consisting of 24 members. In 1710 Povey transferred his right in the Exchange House, also known as the Sun Fire Office, to the Company of London Insurers. The business of the Sun Fire Office was henceforth conducted in Causey's Coffee House near St Paul's Cathedral. In March 1711 it moved to a house in Sweeting's Rents. The Company was governed by two bodies: the General Court which was a meeting of all the managers, and the Committee of Management (consisting of 7 members) which met weekly.

A branch office, known as the Charing Cross office (or Westminster House), was opened in Craig's Court in 1726. The office was moved to 60 and 61 Charing Cross in 1866.

Business in Germany was established during the first half of the 19th century, and during the second half of the century the Sun Insurance Office began to operate in rest of Europe, the Near East, the Far East, the USA, Canada, South America, Australasia, China and Africa.

The Accident Department and the Marine Department were established in 1907 and 1921 respectively.

The name of the company was changed to the Sun Insurance Office in 1891. It became a public limited liability company in 1926. In 1959 it merged with Alliance to form Sun Alliance Insurance Limited, and in 1996 Sun Alliance merged with Royal Insurance to form the Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance Group.

The Sun Life Assurance Society was established in 1810 to take over the life insurance business of the Sun Fire Office. The membership of each company's board of managers was identical. Sun Life was based in Bank Buildings, then at Threadneedle Street, and later at Cheapside. The collection includes very few records of Sun Life Assurance Society.

The Sun Insurance Office archive includes records relating to the Sun Indemnity Company of New York. In 1822 the Sun Fire Office took over the Watertown Insurance Company and a US manager was appointed. By the end of 1886 the company was represented in 20 states. The following year the head office of the US branch was moved to New York. The Sun Insurance Office floated the Sun Indemnity Company of New York and the Patriotic Insurance Company of America in 1922. In 1929 the Sun Underwriters Insurance Company of New York was formed. In 1955 these companies were reorganized into two firms: the Sun branch, and the Sun Insurance Company of New York (incorporating Sun Indemnity, Patriotic, and Sun Underwriters).

The Sun Insurance Office had a number of UK subsidiary companies, including: Bath Sun Fire Office (from 1838, see CLC/B/192-06); Patriotic Assurance Company of Dublin (from 1906, see CLC/B/192-30); Alliance Assurance Company (from 1959, see CLC/B/192-02); London Assurance (from 1965, see CLC/B/192-26); and Planet Assurance Company (from 1968, see CLC/B/192-32).

The company was based at Causey's Coffee House in St Paul's Church Yard (1710-11), Sweeting's Rents (1711-27), Threadneedle Street (1727-63), Bank Buildings in Cornhill (1763-1843), and Threadneedle Street (1843-).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Sun Insurance Office Limited as well as companies which merged with Sun Insurance, such as Alliance Assurance Company Limited; and subsidiary companies such as Bath Sun Fire Office, Patriotic Assurance Company of Dublin and London Assurance. The records include policy registers; administrative papers; minutes; reports; financial records; deeds; publications and photographs.


Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Includes French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Greek, Portuguese, Italian and Finnish.

System of arrangement:

The Sun Insurance Office Limited papers have been divided over several sub-fonds:
CLC/B/192/A: Constitution;
CLC/B/192/B: Meetings;
CLC/B/192/C: Shares and investments;
CLC/B/192/DA: Administrative records: correspondence;
CLC/B/192/DB: Administrative records: reports / visits;
CLC/B/192/DC: Administrative records: agencies;
CLC/B/192/DD: Administrative records: general;
CLC/B/192/DE: Administrative records: staff;
CLC/B/192/E: Finance;
CLC/B/192/F: Policies;
CLC/B/192/G: Premises and property;
CLC/B/192/H: Other bodies.
In addition, the papers of various subsidiary companies and companies which merged with the Sun Insurance Office or with Sun Alliance are catalogued as CLC/B/192-02 to -37.

Conditions governing access:

Access by appointment only. Please contact staff.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records of the Sun Insurance Office have been deposited in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library by the Sun Alliance in a series of deposits from 1966. The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

Allied Materials

Related material:

A number of policy registers of local agencies are held by local record offices. For a list, see David T. Hawkings, Fire Insurance Records for Family and Local Historians 1696-1920 (London, 2003).

Publication note:

A history of the company, P.G.M. Dickson, The Sun Insurance Office 1710-1960 (London, 1960), is held in the Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library.

See also Relton's published history: An account of the fire insurance companies, associations, institutions, projects and schemes established and projected in Great Britain and Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries including the Sun Fire Office: also of Charles Povey the projector of that office, his writings and schemes (London, 1893), held in the Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
January to May 2011.

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