Local historians – sweeping up those unconsidered trifles of life
Last updated at 20:03, Thursday, 05 July 2012
Would you insure yourself and your partner against death by a fatal accident at work – with a newspaper?
I know that many newspapers, local and national, are currently exploring new and ingenious ways of making money – but I don’t think that running a “work injury insurance” scheme is one of them.
Unless, of course, you know any different!
But, in 1926 one paper did just that.
I was intrigued by a large advert which appeared in a local paper in the March of that year. It read: “The Daily News insures you at work.” It went on: “£50 has been promptly paid by the Daily News Insurers at Lloyd’s, to an unfortunate widow, from Moss Bay, whose husband, a miner, was killed by a fall of roof in the William Pit, Great Clifton.”
In today’s money, using RPI, £50 would be worth almost £2,300. The advert claimed that this was the “second work fatality claim recently paid at Workington to the widow of a registered reader of the Daily News.”
Note the phrase “registered reader.”
The ad further explains that the payment was made “under the new scheme which insures registered readers of the ‘Daily News’ against fatal accidents at work.”
Either husband or wife could sign a form/forms to get registered – and this meant that both were “insured for all the Accident Benefits offered.”
So where’s the catch? It can’t be that simple.
It’s got to be hidden somewhere in the small print of the registration forms. The big bad cynic in me has a view on the scheme.
If it sounded too good to be true – it quite probably was.
This advert both puzzles and intrigues me – which is where you come in.
Anyone heard of such a scheme – or knows of anyone who was a registered reader of the Daily News? If so, how long did the scheme last? And, how long is it since the Daily News ceased publication?
Questions, questions, he’s asking questions again! I know a few of you might be thinking that. But I do so for one very good reason – there’s so much I don’t know – and so much that is just not written down anywhere.
This came home to me many years ago when I was supposed to be giving a talk on local history. I suddenly realised that there was I – a relative whippersnapper (I did say it was many years ago) – standing in front of a group whose average age must have been 60. I did a quick mental calculation – 30 x 60. I had in front of me some 1,800 years of living local history. I did a lot of listening that night.
So much exists only in people’s memories and, sadly, when we were young we probably didn’t want to listen.
And it doesn’t all have to be of ‘major significance.’ I remember that one very eminent local historian stated that he regarded himself as a sweeper up of unconsidered trifles. And who knows now what will be interesting in years to come?
I did ask, many moons ago, if anyone knew where Workington’s Spion Kop was. Charles Henry Jones, steward on the dredger Cleveland, lived there in 1907. We know this because he’d entered one of the West Cumberland Times’ weekly limerick competitions. So – anyone know where it was?
In February I was asking if anyone had ever heard of the Workington Bachelor Society – date unknown – but probably before the Great War. The article carried a photo in the hope that someone might identify some of the assorted gentlemen posing for the camera. If you think you can help, you can always access the article on the paper’s website and, if you’re technically proficient, no doubt enlarge the picture. My enquirer, Bryan Feenan, wanted to know if his grandfather, Albert Feenan – who died in the flu epidemic of 1918 – is on the photo. Has anyone ever heard older relatives talk about such a society? Anyone got a similar photo stored away? Here’s hoping!
I do continue to ask such questions because the Times & Star is read all over the world – mostly courtesy of the internet. I know because I have been contacted by expatriate Cumbrians over the years – some with queries and others with information.
Writing, a few weeks ago, about Thomas Percy, erstwhile Dean of Carlisle, I thought that he hadn’t left much of an impression locally. I was subsequently informed he’d been “instrumental in having the four sets of paintings on the backs of choir stalls restored in 1778.” A snippet of information dug out by an informant! Finally – another snippet. John Paul Jones was born on this day in 1747.
First published at 19:20, Thursday, 05 July 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk