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History of the Royal Liver

HISTORY OF THE ROYAL LIVER

Royal Liver have just celebrated 100 years at the famous Royal Liver building and although now part of Royal London we should never forget its proud history. This website has obtained special pictures and information for your perusal. Please take a while to read and look back at the last 161 years of the Royal Liver Assurance.Janice and Graham

Founded in 1850 in Liverpool, Royal Liver has provided financial peace of mind to people over three centuries. From the reign of Queen Victoria up to and including the present Queen Elizabeth II.The Society`s history is inextricably linked to that of the Liverpool itself, both growing and changing since Victoria`s reign and both emerging in the 21st century with renewed pride and vigour.Royal Liver supported Liverpool as it celebrated its year as European Capital of Culture.The world famous Liver Birds have come to symbolise Liverpool as well as the Royal Liver. One faces the River Mersey, comforting generations of homeward-bound sailors and casting a reassuring eye on those who leave the city by sea, guiding them to their destinations. The other looks across the city, standing sentinel over Liverpool and its inhabitants.Victorian Liverpool was the second city of the British Empire-essentially the second city in the World, outside of London. By 1850 the once small fishing village had become a major port and centre of international commerce.Poverty was everywhere on Liverpool`s overcrowded streets and many died from disease and malnutrition. Pauper burials was quite common.In 1850 nine local working men decided they could make a difference to people`s lives by helping find peace in death. A burial club for families was formed in the City so nobody would have to suffer a pauper`s burial or face financial ruin when a wage earning relative passed away.Royal Liver Assurance began life on July 24th in the Lyver Inn, St Anne Street, Liverpool. Initially called the Liverpool Lyver Burial Society. It was registered on August 14th, 1850. The Society`s first office was 14 Pickop Street.During the 1850s. Liverpool was known as the most unhealthy town in England with the average life expectancy for an adult being just 26 years. Royal Livers Claims regularly exceeded the funds so committee members pawned their own watches to pay members.1853 saw Royal Liver move twice to new premises first Falkland Street and the second Prescot Street mainly due to rising numbers of membership.Two years later members could be found in Leeds, Norwich, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle, Bradford, Bolton, Leicester and the Isle of Man. It even established a presence in Ireland.On June 2nd, 1856 the name changed to Royal Liver Friendly Society. A year later further growth meant new offices had to be built in Prescot Street at a cost of £2000. Bristol, Sheffield and London also opened district offices.During 1861, it provided soup and bread to the poor during the severe winter and made ex-gratia payments to members whose policies had lapsed due to unemploymentIn 1870 the premium income rose to £176.000 per year equivalent to more than £11M today.By 1885 income had reached £373,000 (£23M today) with accumulated capital of £862,000 (almost £53M today)By 1886 membership was so large that it became necessary to introduce a body to represent members and in 1887, the first Delegates were elected.In 1905 membership was more than a million and surpluses brought benefits to members. Free policies were granted and members of 20 years received bonuses.The staff were invited to join a superannuation scheme which was the first to be set up by a Friendly Society.1907 after further growth, the 5000 staff needed larger premises and a new Head Office was planned. May 11th 1908 saw the foundation stone laid and Pier Head was officially opened by Lord Sheffield- a senior trustee- on July 19th 1911. The building had been designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas. It was built in just 3 years from 1908 to 1911 and became one of the earlist examples of multi storey reinforced concrete contruction in the world.The clock known as Great George was first set in motion on July 22nd 1911. Each minute hand is an amazing 14 feet long.The birds were designed by a German sculptor, Carl Bernard Bartels, who won an international competition to design the icon that would adorn one of the world`s most exciting new buildings. They perch 322 feet above the ground and are 18 feet tall. Each wing is 10 feet long.Early part of the 20th century saw Royal Liver continuing to grow. When war broke out in 1914 some 1,200 members of Royal Liver staff join up and 58 died on active service. Salaries were still paid to those who joined the war effort and their jobs were kept open for their return. Also during that year, Royal Liver announced that it would not serve forfeiture notices on members affected by the Great war, a move that was to become legislation shortly afterwardsBy 1920, the great wave of unemployment in the UK saw many members fall into arrears but Royal Liver took a sympathetic view and rather than serve forfeiture notices, it made numerous alterations to its rules in order that members could maintain their policies.Royal Liver helped to form the 1923 Industrial Assurances Act.This fair treatment of members helped Royal Liver to become the UKs sixth largest industrial assurance organisation by 1933. Premium income had reached £4.7M (£135M in todays figures)In 1967 computers were used for the first time and card files were transferred to magnetic tape.In the 1970s the building was in such a poor state that some suggested it should be sold for a mere £1 but work to restore began in 1973 and in 1977 work on the interior began which lasted for 5 years.The 80s saw staff development and more computerisation.The 1986 Financial Services Act put pressure on Royal Liver and the rest of the industry however processes were refined and they became authorised. A new sales force was established in 1991. 1994 Royal Liver became an incorporated Friendly Society and created both Royal Liver Insurance Services and Royal Liver Mortgage Services.In 2000 Caledonian Life was acuired. Progress was launced in 2003 and Park Row was purchased at the same time.2006 Citadel Financial Advice was formed in Republic of Ireland.2011 Now part of Royal London



Royal Liver Superannuitants Association