Arthur Seymour Banks (1882 – 1960) of Croydon, Holborn and Pratts Bottom, Kent

Banks AS 11 Jun 1949.jpgFamily Chart

This picture of Arthur and Jane Gertrude Banks was taken in 1949.



Arthur Seymour Banks was born 18 December 1882, at Croydon, a son of Frederick Seymour Banks and Elizabeth, formerly Belsham. At this time the family was living at Leslie Lodge, Lower Addiscombe Lane, Croydon.  He was baptised 14 February 1899 (when he was confirmed?) at Cranleigh.


In 1891, at 4 John Street, at home with his parents, he was aged 8 and born at Croydon, Surrey.


Arthur was educated at Halvergate College, Edgware (evidence shows he was there at least between June 1892 and May 1894.  Letters home show that he was interested in natural history, and collected birds' eggs and butterflies and moths.  He then boarded at Cranleigh School, Cranleigh, Surrey (founded in 1865).  Evidence shows he was there at least between December 1895 and December 1900.  Whilst at the school he was a member of the Cadet Corps.  At Cranleigh, aged 16, he passed the Junior Examination of the University of Cambridge in December 1899 in the compulsory subjects of Dictation and Arithmetic and also in English (Geography and Macaulay) and Latin.  He was good at sketching.


In 1901, at home with his parents, at 4 John Street, Bedford Row, London, Arthur S. was aged 18, a commission agent’s clerk and born at Croydon.


He has not been found in the 1911 census.


Arthur met Jane Gertrude Wyborn in a cinema queue in Bromley.  She had gone there to see “The Last Days of Pompeii” and, because the cinema was full, was waiting in the queue until there was room.  Her youngest sister and her boyfriend then arrived and the three waited together.  Arthur Banks joined the queue and he and Jane Gertrude went in together and sat next to each other.  Arthur talked to Jane all the way through the film and escorted her home so that he knew where she lived.  He wrote to her the next day.  He was lodging with his brother, George, in Swanley at the time.  Arthur was aged 28 and Jane 17 when they first met, which would therefore be around 1910.  Perhaps the name of the film is incorrect as it appeared in 1913.


They had met by August 1912.


In 1914 and 1915 his address was 10 Home Villas, Swanley.


By 6 January 1915 they were engaged.


Arthur married Jane Gertrude Wyborn, after banns, on 28 December 1916 at St Andrew’s Holborn, London.  He was aged 34, an engineer’s assistant manager of 4 John Street, Bedford Row, a son of Frederick Seymour Banks, gentleman.  Jane was aged 23, a spinster of 66, Park Road Bromley, a daughter of Thomas Harrison Wyborn (dec.) grocer.  The witnesses were Helen Maud Wyborn [sister], Frederick S. Banks [father] and George Banks [brother].


After their marriage, Arthur and Jane lived with George Banks at Court Farm House, Epsom.


In October 1921, they were living at 3 Mashona Terrace, Keston.  This was the address of Tess (sister) and Edward Fromings.  They were at the same address in 1923.  Arthur was Hon. Secretary of the Keston Fanciers' Association (established December 1921) and Jane was Assistant Hon. Secretary.  Amongst the 13 Vice-Presidents were F.S. Banks and G. Banks.


Then came the move to ‘Tancred’, Pratts Bottom, Kent, where they remained for the rest of their life.  This bungalow was on Chelsfield Park Estate, a development of Homesteads Limited, whose head office was in Essex Street, Strand, London.  It was originally purchased by Mr H.J. Hopkins in 1922 and sold to Arthur in 1923 for £950.  They were certainly there in September 1924.  They occupied plot 28 and half of plot 27 next to the footpath that ran along the length of plot 28.  The bungalow was called Tancred by the developers, after the eponymous knight of the 1st Crusade.  The other bungalows along the road were similarly named after other knights.  Arthur and Jane were amongst the first to move in.


Arthur was Company Secretary of Savage and Co., manufacturers of tea and coffee machines, which his brother George owned and ran.  Arthur had an office at 4 Love Lane, Eastcheap, London, though the address of the business seems usually to have been 28 Love Lane.


Arthur was a liveryman of the Butchers’ Company, admitted by patrimony.


Published in 'Poultry-Keeping and Rabbit Breeding' 31 January 1925 was "The Fur Breeds of Rabbits, Chapter VII - The Argente de Champagne (continued from Jan 24th page 279) by A.S. Banks.


On the front page of "Fur and Feather - Rabbits and Rabbit-Keeping" for 1 April 1927 was a picture of ‘Three noted Sitkas- The black fur breed, bred and exhibited by Mr A.S. Banks of Tancred House, Manor Road, Pratt's Bottom, Kent’.  He was a noted breeder of Sitkas and in the previous season out of 23 classes for these rabbits he gained 18 firsts, 18 seconds, 9 thirds and 6 reserves.  He showed as far afield as Barnstaple and Bradford.


On 9 April 1927, an article about 'Mr A.S. Banks at his Kentish Home' entitled "A Famous Stud of Sitka Rabbits" appeared in 'Poultry-Keeping'.


On 18 December 1931 an article written by him entitled 'Temperament….In the Rabbit and in the Man?’ was published in "Fur and Feather, Rabbits and Rabbit-Keeping".


On 4 March 1937 he extended a house-owner's insurance policy with Lloyds of London in respect of nos 5, 7, 9 and 11 Herbert Road, Bromley, to cover additionally 45 Stanley Road, 20 and 31 Balfour Road and 6 Canon Road, Bromley.  These properties were likely to have been purchased with the proceeds from his 1/3 share of his mother's estate which was finally distributed by 16 November 1937.


He bought 29 Hayward Road, Bromley in 1939 for £575.


In 1939 (register), at Tancred, Sevenoaks Road, Orpington UD Arthur S. Banks was a retired company secretary and ARP warden with a birth date of 18 December 1882.  Jane G. Banks had a birth date of 11 May 1893.  There was one other whose record is closed.


He sold 9 Herbert Road, Bromley in 1950, to E. W. Holley for £500.


He had 6 Canon Road Bromley in April 1950, owned 20 Balfour Road, in June 1952 and sold 5 Herbert Road, Bromley to Mr Warboys for £500 on 29 July 1958.


During his life he kept and bred rabbits, for their pelts and for their meat, specialising in Black Beverens, and was a member and secretary of Bromley Rabbit Club.  He was a registered show judge and officiated at many local shows.  According to a fragment of advertising literature he was a breeder and exhibitor of Giant Blue Beverens, Argente de Champagne…  His stock the previous season won over 40 firsts.  Twice best in show - 10 Silver cups and numerous medals.  He was a member of the following specialist clubs and societies: British Fur Rabbit Society (Hon. Auditor), London Beveren Club (Chairman of Pelt Committee), London Havana and Argente Club (Vice-Chairman), Fur Board Limited, Bromley Fanciers Society (Chairman), Keston Fanciers Society (late Hon. Secretary), Orpington and Crays Fanciers Society and Crystal Palace Grand International Show (on Advisory Committee).  He advertised that there were 'Prices to suit all pockets', 'no rubbish' and 'inspection invited'. 


At the Royal Lancashire Show at Burnley in 1926 he won the British Fur Rabbit Society’s silver spoon(s) for the best Sitka (any age) (Burnley Express 4 August 1926).


At the 13th Open Show at the Corn Exchange, Chelmsford, in the BFRS Young Stock classes he was 3rd for an Argente bred 1933 silver fox any colour; in the SFRC Young Stock classes for a silver or blue fox adult he came 3rd and for the same class but under 5 months he came 2nd.  In the Open Clases for an adult Beveren he was 2nd and for a silver or blue fox adult he came 1st and 2nd (Chelmsford Chronicle 28 July 1933.


Reported in the Derby Daily Telegraph (7 December 1933), at the LMS National Fur and Feather Show, in the open classes he came 1st in the silver fox adult class, 2nd in the same class but for under 5 months and 2nd and 3rd for any Beveren.


He also grew cacti in three greenhouses. 


During World War 2 he was post warden in Pratts Bottom and was held in deep affection by the villagers for his cheery words in difficult times.  He was for a time Chairman of the Village Hall Management Committee, and, when his health permitted, took an active interest in village affairs.  He took early retirement soon after his father died as, financially, he did not need to work anymore.  He was a pipe smoker. 


He died on 14 December 1960 at Orpington hospital after spending a week there.  He was aged 77 years, of Tancred, Pratts Bottom, Kent, a retired engineers company secretary.  He died of pneumonia and peritonitis.    He was buried at Orpington Cemetery.


Probate of his will was granted at London, 17 May 1961, to Jane Gertrude Banks, widow.  He was of Tancred, Pratts Bottom, Orpington and died 14 December 1960 at Orpington Hospital.


At the time of his death he owned 31 Balfour Road, Bromley and 29 Hayward Road, Bromley as well as his home, Tancred.


Jane Gertrude Banks (formerly Wyborn) trained as a teacher.  In 1911 she had been a student teacher at Wharton Road Council School, Bromley, for some time and was very warmly commended.  On her marriage she was presented with a copy of ‘Tennyson’s Works’ by the managers of the National Schools, Bromley.  She taught at Epsom for 2 years after her marriage (Epsom Council Girls' School for nearly 1½ years, February 1919- July 1920, where she taught all subjects well, but especially excelled in needlework) and, following the move to Pratts Bottom, then taught in a number of primary schools.  She became a school manager of a primary school for 6 months, then a school governor for a group of secondary and technical schools, and a school governor of Orpington Girls Grammar School. 


Jane Gertrude qualified in July 1939 to give "First Aid to the Injured" with the St John Ambulance Association.


She was a member of the Conservative Party and was a councillor on Orpington Urban District Council (elected Saturday 9 May 1953).  In her election leaflet it was stated that 'she had lived at Pratts Bottom for 30 years; was Chairman of the School Managers of the Farnborough Group of Schools.  She was a member of Pratts Bottom Village Hall Committee and of the Ward Coronation Committee.  She was an Enrolling Member of the Mothers' Union, a member of the Parochial Church Council, and a Committee Member of the Women's Institute and was a member of the Model Village Association and Horticultural Society.  She was a member of the Kent Council of Social Service, which administered free milk in schools and cared for delicate schoolchildren.  During the war she was a Volunteer Air Raid Warden'. 


In 1956, she was reported in the Orpington and Kentish Times (9 March or 4 May) as being against the siting of a crematorium at Rushmore Hill, north of Birthday Wood, at Pratts Bottom.  She spoke at a monthly meeting of Orpington Council and said that “we do not want all essential services here (at Pratts Bottom)”.  She pointed out that there was already a refuse dump and a County Council road material dump at Rushmore Hill.


At the time of Arthur's death she was chairman of Orpington Council Public Health and the Halls and Libraries committees.


She and Arthur judged rabbits together at shows.  They also were keen gardeners growing Dahlias in large numbers in rows, which they entered in competitions at shows. 


In her later life, in the late 1970s, she had a number of speaking engagements with a variety of organisations and gave talks on such subjects as 'Old Bromley', ‘The Lost Rivers of London’, ‘The street names of London’, ‘The origins of holidays’ etc.


In February 1967, Jane Gertrude sold her half plot between Tancred and Santa Rosa for £1750.  Santa Rosa similarly sold its half plot to make one full plot.  31 Balfour Road was sold 25 January 1978 for £8,875.


Tancred was sold in 2 November 1984 for £68,900 after Jane Gertrude has entered Colesdane House.  It had consisted of a fully enclosed porch, a kitchen (16' 3" by 10' 6"), a front reception room (14' 7" by 11' 7"), a front study (12' 11" by 8' 9"), an inner hall, a front bedroom (16' 3" by 12' 8"), a rear bedroom (extension) (13' 0" by 9' 2"), a rear reception room/bedroom (13' 0" by 12' 0"), a main entrance hall, a bathroom.  The plot was 145' by 470'.


Jane Gertrude died at about 5.30 am on Wednesday, 26 April 1989 at Colesdane House, Harrietsham, Kent, a private old people's home, where she had been living since 1984, when she became unable to look after herself.  About a month or so before she died, she had suffered a massive heart attack and had been pronounced dead twice by her doctor, but she had recovered from this although very much weakened by it.  She was cremated on Ascension Day, 4 May at 1.30 pm at Maidstone Crematorium and her ashes were scattered in its grounds.


Probate of Jane's will was granted at Brighton, 13 September 1989.  She was of Coles Dane House, Stede Hill, Harrietsham and died 26 April 1989.

Arthur Seymour and Jane Gertrude Banks had one son.

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Posted March 2017