J H Simmonds

JH Simmonds

John Hayes Simmonds CB was initiated into the Lodge at the February meeting in 1910. He would be joined in the Lodge in the October of the same year by his brother Maurice Hayes Simmonds, and both would serve the Lodge for the rest of their lives, 36 and 61 years respectively. They were scions of the Simmonds banking family that later became part of Barclays. They were both keen riders, and the Garth was probably John’s strongest passion, one he shared with Lord Dorchester.

John was in the Picton, a member of the XV and a Prefect, before going up to Magdalen College, Oxford.

His Obituary from the ‘Berkshire Chronicle’ , on Friday 6th September 1946, speaks of his life and its many and varied accomplishments:

Death of Mr. J. H. Simonds – Well-Known Reading Banker

Following a sudden illness, the death occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning of Mr. John Hayes Simonds, C. B., at his residence, Newlands, Arborfield. Mr. Simonds, who was in his 68th year, had seemed in perfect health on the previous day when he had attended the South Berks Pony Show at Calcot. He was the son of the late John Simonds.

One of the best-known figures in Reading and the county, Mr. Simonds was a director of Barclays Bank, Ltd., of H. and G. Simonds Ltd., and chairman of directors of Reading Building Society. He was a Deputy Lieutenant for the county and had been a Reading borough magistrate since 1934. In July last year he relinquished the position of chairman of the Berkshire Territorial Association, which he had held for fourteen years. He had been a member and treasurer of the Association for many years. He was also a trustee of Reading Savings Bank. Since 1929 he had been Reading Borough Treasurer.

Educated at Wellington College and Magdalen College, Oxford, Mr. Simonds took his B.A. in 1900. From Oxford he entered the Reading bank of J. and C. Simonds, which had been founded in 1813 by Charles Simonds. He subsequently became a partner in the bank, and when it was acquired by Barclays Bank, Ltd., in 1913, he became a local director of that company. Later he joined the board of directors o Barclays Bank Ltd. His association with H. and G. Simonds as director extended for some 20 years.

It was in 1900 that Mr. Simonds was commissioned into the 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment, subsequently the 4th (T) Battalion. He retired in 1911 but later rejoined the 2/4 Battalion in 1914 as Major, and served in France. In the last war he served with the Arborfield platoon of the Home Guard.

Mr. Simonds was a man of wide interests and he held office in a number of organisations in the locality. He was treasurer of Berkshire County Cricket Club, Reading Rowing Club, Berkshire Playing Fields Association, of which he was also a member of the executive committee; Berks Miniature Rifle Association, Reading Poppy Day collections, the Y.M.C.A. War Service Fund in Berkshire, and many other bodies. Among other organisations with which been officially associated were the Wokingham Club, Reading and District Fat Stock Society and Arborfield Cricket Club. He was hon. treasurer of the local fund for the Royal Show at Reading in 1926. Mr. Simonds was actively involved with the Savings drive during the war and was chairman of the committee of Reading Warships Week and chairman of the Bonds Committee of the Salute the Soldier campaign locally.

Although interested in all sports, Mr. Simonds had closest associations with hunting. He had been a member of the Garth almost all his life, and had been treasurer since the death of his father in 1929. In his younger days he had been a useful rugby player and had appeared for Berkshire Wanderers on frequent occasions after leaving Oxford.

In 1911, Mr. Simonds married Miss Aline Rhoda Sturges, daughter of Mr. Edward Murray Sturges, of Barkham. The sympathy of their many friends will go out to Mrs. Simonds and the son and two daughters – Major J. A. H. Simonds, Mrs. Walker and Mrs. J. F. Hart.

The funeral will take place on Saturday at 3 p.m.