Ernest Simon, 1st Baron Simon of Wythenshawe
The Lord Simon of Wythenshawe
|Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors|
|Preceded by||Philip Inman|
|Succeeded by||Alexander Cadogan|
Ernest Emil Darwin Simon
9 October 1879
Didsbury, Manchester, England
|Died||3 October 1960 (aged 80)|
Withington, Manchester, England
|Alma mater||Pembroke College, Cambridge|
|Profession||Industrialist, politician and public servant|
Ernest Emil Darwin Simon, 1st Baron Simon of Wythenshawe (9 October 1879 – 3 October 1960) was a British industrialist, politician and public servant. Lord Mayor of Manchester in 1921–1922, he was a member of parliament for two terms between 1923 and 1931 before being elevated to the peerage and serving as the Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors.
Early life and family
In 1912 he married Shena Dorothy Potter (1883–1972), a noted social reformer. They had three children: Roger, a solicitor and journalist; Brian, an educationalist and historian; and a daughter Antonia (Tony) who died in childhood. His nephew is C. G. H. Simon.
After leaving Cambridge on the death of his father, he entered the family's engineering business, Simon Carves, manufacturers of flour milling machinery and coke ovens. He successfully expanded the company into building grain silos, and with the wealth generated by the business pursued outside interests, including politics.
Political and public life
Simon served as a member of Manchester City Council from 1912 to 1925, and as Lord Mayor of Manchester in 1921–1922, the youngest person at the time to have held the office. He is chiefly remembered for the slum clearances and housing projects he initiated in the city. He purchased Wythenshawe Hall and park from Robert Henry Grenville Tatton in 1926 and donated them to the city; the estate farmland became one on Britain's largest housing estates, Wythenshawe.
Simon sat as a Liberal Member of Parliament for Manchester Withington from 1923 to 1924 and from 1929 to 1931. Appointed a Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health in August 1931, to remain in office he contested Penryn and Falmouth (he had previously decided not to contest the Withington seat again) in October 1931, however he was unsuccessful. He was knighted in 1932. After the Second World War he again stood for parliament, as an independent candidate for the Combined English Universities seat during the 1946 by-election. He was unsuccessful and later that year joined the Labour Party. In 1947 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Simon of Wythenshawe, of Didsbury in the City of Manchester, and he was appointed chairman of the BBC Board of Governors, a post which he held until 1952.
He was close friends with Sidney and Beatrice Webb, and he contributed £1000 towards their establishment of the New Statesman political newspaper in 1913. He also had long association with the Victoria University of Manchester; except for a short period, he was a member of the court and council from 1915 until his death, and he served as chairman of the Council between 1941 and 1957.
- Simon, E. D.; Fitzgerald, Marion (1922). A City Council from Within. London: Longmans.
- Simon, E. D. (1926). A City Council from Within. London: Longmans.
- Simon, E. D. (1933). The Anti-Slum Campaign. London: Longmans.
- Simon, E. D.; Inman, John (1935). The Rebuilding of Manchester. London: Longmans.
- Simon, E. D.; Hubback, Eva (1935). Training for Citizenship. London: Oxford University Press.
- Simon, E. D. (1945). Rebuilding Britain: A Twenty Year Plan. London: Victor Gollancz.
- Simon, E. D. (1953). The BBC from Within. London: Victor Gollancz.
- Jones, Brendon (January 2011). "Simon, Ernest Emil Darwin, first Baron Simon of Wythenshawe (1879–1960)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36095. Retrieved 21 December 2012. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "Simon, Ernest Emil Darwin (SMN898EE)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Linton, Deborah (1 June 2011). "Budget crisis could lead Manchester council to give away Heaton Hall and Wythenshawe Hall". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- "Wythenshawe Park: The park's history". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- "No. 33804". The London Gazette. 1 March 1932. pp. 1417–1418.
- "No. 37872". The London Gazette. 4 February 1947. p. 613.
- "Simon of Wythenshawe, 1st Baron". Who Was Who. Oxford University Press. December 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- "About Us". New Statesman Jobs. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2012.