George Penney – Tribute

In Memory of

George Penney

01 . 04 . 1900 – 19 . 02 . 1990

Arthur George Wallis Penney, known as “George” was the elder son of Sidney Rickman Penney (1867 – 1938).

In 1921 he was a member of a winning Cambridge Boat Race Crew, and thereafter entered the family business, residing at Southwick.

After his father’s death in 1938, he became managing director of R. H. Penney & Sons, and he also acted as a member, and later Chairman, of the Shoreham Harbour Trustees.

A. G. W. Penney became engaged to Mary Elizabeth (“Molly”) Mowatt, April – May 1925. They married 20 April 1927 in Keymer Parish Church.

Wick News – February 1990

Betty Dawes wrote:

“George has always supported the Wick in all our ventures and when Molly was a founder member and directing most of the productions, George allowed us to build, store and paint our scenery in his yard at R.H. Penney & Sons on the seafront at Southwick and keep our costumes in the loft at 26 Church Lane.

We met every Monday in their home and he always found time to organise ‘coffee and buns in the kitchen’ although often it was beer and lager for the boys. When you recall that we were all under 21 in the early days, he never complained about the dozens of young people invading 26 or the noise or interruption to his household. We had parties there, we used the lovely garden i the summer and both he and Molly were always available with their car to take us to collect props or costumes or whatever.

When Molly died [02/1972], George was most anxious to keep going all the things she had loved and worked for and became our President for some years. He always came to see the shows – whether he thought he would like it or not – and always paid for a party to come form the Romans and other rest homes. Even during the last four years after he had had a stroke and was severely incapacitated, he still rang up for his tickets and came in his wheel chair. Personally, I was so pleased that he was able to be our guest of honour at our Bal Masque to celebrate our 40th Anniversary and from our chats about the evening, I know he was touched and delighted to have been there.

He was a perfect gentleman, hospitable, courteous and always made you feel that you were the only person that mattered .. as long as you had the best chair to see the television, you had your cup of tea and piece of cake first. George always kept up the tradition of Afternoon Tea – in his beloved garden if at all possible – and I think that it is one of the things I will miss most about him.

His manners were impeccable and in forty years I never heard him use bad language – he never could understand why modern playwrights and young people needed to these days.

Without George and Molly the Wick would never have got off the ground and I’m sure that all of you who knew them will agree with me that it was a great privilege to have done so and our lives will never be quite the same again. Bless you George.”

Shoreham Herald March 2 1990 issue – page 8

Town mourns death of George Penney

SOUTHWICK MAN George Penney, who devoted 50 years of his life to public service, died peacefully at the age of 89 last Monday.

Mr Penney was born n Brighton in 1900 and achieved an Honours degreee in History at Cambridge University. He married Elizabeth ‘Molly’ Mowatt in the 1920s and they moved to Southwick in 1933 and built a house in Church Lane. He started a long and distinguished career in commerce with his grandfather’s company, R. H. Penney and Sons. His grandfather helped to make Shoreham Harbour propserous in Victorain times and the company had many vessels sailing to ports all over the world. His grandfather’s family lived at The Grange, which gave its name to Grange Road, Southwick.

George Penney, a Quaker, also devoted 50 years of his life to public duty and service, becoming a West Sussex County Councillor, a JP, Govenor of Schools, Chairman of the Shoreham Harbour Board, member of past and present Rotary Clubs and President of Southwick Community Association.

He leaves two daughters, Anthea Porter and Belinda Jupp.

A private cremation was held at Bighton Downs Crematorium last Friday and a memorial service was held at St Michael’s Chuch, Southwick, on Monday.

Shoreham Herald February 23 1990 issue – page 7

In Port by Capt Horn carried this:

The local firm of R. H. Penney & Sons have been synonymous with this port both when it was Shoreham Harbour and under its present title of the Port of Shoreham.

In the days of sail their houseflag flew from a considerable fleet of ships from the West Sussex port to the New Zealand coast. Probably the best known vessel to fly their houseflag was the barque ALASTOR.

With the end of the sailing ship era, the ancient company of shipowners continued at Shoreham as Wharfingers, brokers and stevedores and still operate in the modern port as shipbrokers and agents for shipping and the wharf which bears their name is still extant to this day.

It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of George Penney, the head of this old Quaker family, just a few days before his ninetieth birthday.

Truly the end of an era.