Ernest William Reeves
DescriptionErnest, known to his friends as Ernie, was a Reading man employed by Heelas of Reading in the Estate Department. In his early twenties he resigned from Heelas and came to Wokingham as manager of Isaiah Gadd’s removal business. Upon the liquidation of Gadd's company at the beginning of the First World War, Ernest, with the aid of a business friend, purchased the business which he renamed Reeves Removals. He extended the company by the addition of premises in Camberley The business developed until it was one of the biggest and best in the south of England. After his retirement the company was managed by a board of directors and Ernie maintained an interest in the business acting as a consultant. In May 1956 the company of E.W. Reeves and Co. of Wokingham and Camberley, was taken over by Messrs. C. and G. Ayres, of Friar Street Reading. It was eventually acquired by Bishop’s Move.
In addition to civic activities, Ernest was an active member of the Masonic movement and was a prime mover of the purchase of the Masonic Hall in the Reading Road. His career as a mason is impressive: member of the Downshire Lodge since 1923 and Master in 1934; Past Senior Warden of the Province of Berkshire; Past Grand Standard Bearer of the Grand Lodge of England; Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies of Supreme Grand Chapter of England; Past Provincial Grand Warden of Mark Masons of Berks. and Oxon and Founder Member and Past Junior Warden of the Acorn Lodge. He also enjoyed membership of the Valentia Mark Lodge.
Ernie was also associated with a number of the town's organisations, both social and sporting, including the Rotarians of which he was a founder vice-president. In 1946 he was elected to the Board of Management of the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
He married Hilda May Lovell (1892-1974) and moved first to Samarkand in Gipsy Lane and, a few years later, to 17, Crescent Road. They had a son, Gordon Ernest (d. 1942) who married Gertrude Doreen Greaves in 1934. Gordon was to have taken over the company but he died of black water fever while serving with the R.A.S.C. in West Africa during the Second World War.
On February 19th 1959 he was made Honorary Freeman of the Borough in recognition of the faithful and devoted service which he has rendered to the Borough of Wokingham and to the County of Berkshire, by his long association with Local Government over the past thirty-five years and his interest in the social, recreational and cultural life of the town.
Ernest died in a Reading nursing home on the 22nd. of September 1963 at the age of 71. Reeves Way, off Eastheath Avenue, was named in his memory.
SourceFormer Mayors of Wokingham from 1885 - 1946, by J Bell.
Honorary Freeman of Wokingham, by J. Bell
“Ernest William Reeves,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed September 24, 2020, https://wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0120.