Both he and his wife were outstanding characters. He was an easy man to get on with. Though keen in business he was not difficult. He dealt in jewellery but principally in watches and what he didn’t know about either wasn't worth knowing. He traded with watchmakers and jewelers, travelling among them, bargaining, selling, exchanging and what not. In his home he had bucketsful of silver watch cases, old silver and what not under the table, in corners - anywhere. In cupboards and drawers packages of jewellery were stored.
But he remained in mediocrity having no higher ambition, content and comfortable, indifferent to the higher possibilities of the Trade.
He was a pleasant and interesting man to come across - with a fund of anecdotes of his experiences, transactions and the personalities he contacted in business. He lived at 68 Grange Road West next door to Jacob Wilson, when he resided there. His wife was his opposite: austere, grave and silent; rather tall, angular, and sharp featured. She died here.
They were said to be connected with the Laski's of Manchester but what the relationship might be I cannot say, but I would presume Mrs Aaronson and Mr Laski [the father of Neville Laski the Recorder, the late Harold Laski the Socialist, and Margherita Laski the writer and television personality] were brother and sister, for she did not look unlike him in either looks or physique. However there was a family resemblance.
He had four children, two girls and two boys. With the latter he was exceptionally stern and strict, more so as they grew to youthhood. He considered them wild and pronounced them "blaggatchim" - "blackguards" - but I didn't consider them much wilder than the average. Frolicsome and up to pranks maybe, but what youth of any worth isn’t? However, he bundled them off to America, where they both made good and turned out respectable citizens. So he did the best for them after all! He was very orthodox and fervent in his religious observances.
Both he and his wife lived a quiet self-contained family life, visiting none and seeking none, and in that way I suppose were content and happy enough. When he left, the fascination and enjoyment of his presence went with him and he was missed by many.
Henry Simon (1856-1909)
Henry Simon lived at 42 Grange Road West where he established himself as a moneylender, and carried on here until he died. He was keen, concentrating and ambitious, which contributed to his success in no small measure. He dealt principally with the working classes.
A man of simple tastes and habits, plain, unostentatious and reserved he devoted himself to business and his family. His wife homely, motherly, domesticated and jovial, made him a good one, to whom he was deeply attached, and they seemed a devoted pair. They had four children. Philip (now retired, the late Morris, and Max. The business was continued by the two latter at the same address for several years tend then moved to Albert Road near the High School. Lily was the only daughter. She died in 1957.
He was a devout man and if I have omitted any communal activities either here or anywhere else it is because I have no records at my command, and I cannot rely on my memory in this respect for accuracy.
He died a rich man, and "Rich as the Simon's" became a byword.
Riches may gratify material desires, may give power, but do they constitute sterling happiness? For pleasures are not that, neither is power. There is more true happiness in mediocrity with a contented mind than in all the riches Croesus was ever possessed of.
No rich person knows contentment, for he is ever wanting more. There can be no happiness in wealth without health, and all the money in the world cannot purchase either it or a sound constitution. They are the greatest riches humanity is heir to, did one but know it! Wealth is but good and valuable for the benefits it can bestow, and the happiness it can give to others, and subscriptions and donations give the donor no sweeter, no more intrinsic joy. Happiness not to be ignored or despised.