H&G Simonds Brewery – History and Website

Updated 28 November 2021

Raymond Simonds has compiled a broad and deep on line archive of information about the history and times of H+G Simonds Brewery, this may be reached through the Simonds family website.

In February 2017 he released even more amazing images to the archive which cover :

  • People  In the company archives, Raymond uncovered a hoard of wonderful old images of the people involved in the brewery operation at all levels. The earliest images date from World War 1. One small album was marked ‘pre-1920’. But the majority are from the post war years and up to about 1960.  Some were in albums, probably from the Hop Leaf Gazette editor’s office.  Others were loose or in bundles. This can be reached HERE 
  • Design.  This section includes images of Simonds Pubs and Hotels around the South West.  HERE 
  • Coopers and Barrel Makers – this has some amazing images of the initiation ceremony of Journeyman Cooper, appropriately perhaps Maurice Cooper.  HERE

In April 2016 Bill Buckley held BBC Radio Berkshire’s  Celebration of Beer in Reading Town Hall (sadly no longer accessible on BBC).  This was followed by a docu/drama about the brewery  recorded in late 2016.   BBC Berkshire Simonds Drama   There are also 7 clips from Andrew Peach’s recordings about Simonds Brewery  HERE

Brewery Information Board

The late Duncan Simonds was President of Reading Civic Society. He started to encourage the Oracle Shopping Centre management team to mark the site of the H&G Simonds Brewery, which was formerly on the site now occupied by The House of Fraser. Duncan sadly did not succeed in completing this task before he died.

In 2008 the Civic Society worked with the Simonds family and the management of The Oracle Shopping Centre to complete his aim and an Information board was unveiled by The Mayor of Reading.  Peter Beard, on 26th February 2009 in the presence of the then Lord-Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire, Mrs Mary Bayliss.

This information board, sited next to the Strada Restaurant across the river from the House of Fraser,  explains the history of the H&G Simonds Brewery, later Courage Brewery, in Reading.   It was funded by the Civic Society, donations from its members and the Simonds family.

Further information is HERE and a report of the unveiling event is HERE.  The booklet which was produced for the event may be found on the history site  HERE.

The unveiling of the Simonds Information Board 26 February 2009 with the Lord-Lieutenant - the Hon Mrs Bayliss JP, Peter Beard, Mayor of Reading, members of the Simonds family, the designer, the board supplier and Chair of Reading Civic Society.

The unveiling of the Simonds Information Board 26 February 2009 with the Lord-Lieutenant – the Hon Mrs Bayliss JP, Peter Beard, Mayor of Reading, members of the Simonds family, the designer, the board supplier and Chair of Reading Civic Society.

 

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Civic Society Membership renewal

The membership year runs from January to December and so renewals are now due.  We do hope that existing members will wish to rejoin to support our activities. In March we are planning hold the AGM (these are always brief) along with a talk.  COVID may however push us on line.

The membership renewal form may be accessed Membership renewal form 2022  The annual fee is £10 (single) or £15 (for two people at the same address).  The membership form gives details of our bank account to enable payment electronically.  We do however accept the good old fashioned cheque.

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