Bland Fielden senior staff circa 1970. Back row: Tommy Parr (insurance manager), Leslie Baker (general accounts manager), Alan Martin (audit manager), Bob Fisher (building society manager), Ben Herbert (senior exec), Ernest Purser (manager – worked for Bland Fielden for 61 years), Gerald Bird (tax dept), Dick Phillips (partner, general accounts), Tom Lachohee (senior exec), Charlie Bareham (tax dept manager), Frank Eldred (audit senior exec), Laurie Loxley (audit manager). Front row: Charles Lissimore (audit manager), Yvonne Whyman (receptionist), Geoffrey Lockhart (partner), Christine Pittock (manager, general accounts), Russell Wray (partner), C Lupton Fielden (partner), Eric Bland (partner), George Digby (partner and former Colchester United player), Yvonne Ling (audit manager), Clifford Robins (partner).
O ver the county border in Essex, the ‘Bland’ part of the firm was also going strong, the result of an equally long heritage. Charles Bland was a co-founder of the Colchester Permanent Building Society in 1877. But in 1919, his son Frank, after distinguished military service in the First World War, saw that the town needed an insurance company as well as the building society and set up his own practice at 356 Crouch Street in June that year. Afewyears later in 1926 ‘The Limes’, a large eighteenth-century former school, came up for sale on Sir Isaac’sWalk in the centre of Colchester, and Frankmoved the business to the handsome newpremises where it remained until 2007. When James Herbert (always known as Ben) joined the firm in 1937 at the age of fourteen, the premises housed three partners: Frank Bland (managing partner), Cyril Lupton Fielden and Russell Wray. The building also briefly demands for space meant that Bland Fielden and Co, and Bland & Son soon had to add an extension to the main building. This was followed by several other office additions and soon the cottages in the grounds, plus the house at the end of the drive (which became the office reception) were all taken over accommodated an office for the Forresters’ Brotherhood, but the
Inset left: The Bland Fielden offices at Sir Isaac’s Walk, around the time it was purchased in 1926. Above; The same building, converted to Scrutton Bland offices, in around 2005
to accommodate the growing firm. Ben remembers working to an office routine of 9-6, with one-and-a-quarter hours for lunch. Thursday was a half- day, however, everyone had to work a full day on a Saturday. All staff had to sign in each morning, usually under the watchful gaze of Mr Bland, and it was not until after the Second World War that the working day changed to 9-5.30 (with an hour for lunch) and the half- day switched from Thursday to Saturday, which remained a working
day until 1976. The 1930s saw a period of national economic depression, which perversely saw an increase in business for Bland Fielden and Co with financial liquidation work for firms that were closing down. Branch offices were opened in London, Frinton, Halstead, Sudbury and Witham. One slightly unusual new business connection was with the organisers of greyhound racing in Essex who required a company representative to attend every race meeting in Walthamstow, Dagenham ’
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