Sir Simon Hornby 1934 – 2010

Simon Hornby, who died on 17 July 2010 was President of The Chelsea Society for the full six-year term 1994 – 2000 and during that period contributed much towards the Society’s progress. Reference to each succeeding Annual Report, presented by the Chairman, shows how helpful Sir Simon had been during the preceding year.  In particular his Chairmanship of the Society’s conference ‘The future of Chelsea’; a Millenium conference on 20th April 1998 contributed much towards its considerable success as did Sir Simon’s chairmanship of its successor conference on 7 November 2000 under the title ‘A Vision for Chelsea’.  As many of us know the choice of a Chairman is quite often the key factor in the success of an important meeting with high powered speakers.

But Simon Hornby came from a family well trained in taking responsibility. He was the grandson of C H St.J Hornby, one of the founders of the W.H. Smith business empire, and the second Chairman of the Chelsea Society  See http://chelseasociety.org.uk/charles-st-john-hornby/

Simon spent his working life in the WH Smith company, taking the appointment of Chief Executive, and then as Chairman in his final period with the company from 1982 to 1994.  Other important public interests included The Design Council, the National Trust and the Royal Horticultural Society where he was president from 1994 to 2000.  Sir Simon had a clear idea of the support he should give those he led, and if advice was sought he was always ready to give it.

Obituary by Ian Frazer

(Taken from The Chelsea Society Annual Report 2010)

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