Although North’s history began in at least 1860, the Club’s roots go back further than this as it is likely to have evolved from one of the very small mutual Clubs that existed along England’s north east coast in the early 19th Century.
It is estimated that in the 1830's there were dozens of clubs in the region with at least 12 in North Shields, 9 in South Shields and a further 5 in Newcastle. The clubs were managed by ex sea captains accountable to unpaid committee members and the policy year would begin on the 20th February annually, which was traditionally when sailing ships on England's north east coast were taken from the winter lay-up and made ready to resume trade at ports in the Baltic. Today, over 150 years later, the International Group of P&I clubs still collectively renew their insurance and reinsurance policies on 20th February each year.
In the mid 19th century steamships began to replace sailing ships, and in 1856 the North of England Steamship Insurance Association (NESIA) was formed to insure steamships. At the time NESIA, like most of the clubs, covered just three-quarters of the costs of collisions and as a result new clubs, known as protecting clubs, were formed by ship owners mainly to cover the remaining one-quarter collision risk. In 1860 North of England Iron Steamship Protecting Association emerged out of NESIA. The first manager and secretary of this club was Joseph Carr, who was succeeded in 1865 by Thomas R Miller, who stayed in the North East until 1885 when he moved to London to manage a then smaller club, the UK Mutual Steamship Association.