7 October 1930 – 11 January 2021
John Handcock was born in Reading, but spent most of his life in Windsor. He was educated at Upton House School, where he was among the first 10 pupils, Imperial Service College and at Aldenham School. He graduated in Law at King’s College London and became a solicitor. In 1956 he married his wife Peggy, they have four children.
John was an active member of numerous Windsor organisations, including the Windsor and Eton Society, the Rotary Club, the Windsor & Eton Sea Cadets, the Windsor & Eton Choral Society, he was Captain of the Lay Stewards at St George’s Chapel, and there was not a Windsor action group he was not involved in. He was instrumental in commissioning the two stained glass windows in the Guildhall to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which had been proposed by Hester Davenport.
Since 2000 he has been a member of the Windsor Local History Group. Although not a historian, his knowledge and understanding of history was phenomenal. The Group was delighted when in 2003 he agreed to become our president. He hardly ever missed one of our monthly Friday meeting, and regularly hosted meetings at his house, with Peggy providing delicious refreshments.
As clerk of the Royal Albert Institute Trust he facilitated loans or grants for some of our publications, and he was our best salesman, taking new Windlesoras to all of his meetings.
He wrote seventeen articles for Windlesora, as well as two books, one about the Rotary Club and his latest about the history of the Royal Albert Institute.
John’s articles in Windlesora included:
- 2002, W19 The Queen’s Silver Jubilee
- 2003, W20 Recollections of Windsor in the 1950s, The Royal Funeral, & Windsor’s Court.
- 2005, W21 Windsor and Eton Sea Cadets, Founded 1899
- 2006, W22 The Institute that Became an Institution. The Royal Albert Institute.
- 2007, W23 The Lay Stewards of St George’s Chapel.
- 2008, W24 1937, Windsor’s two months of Majesty. Unveiling of George V Memorial, & The Coronation
- 2009, W25 A Turbulent Priest, John Dalton Canon of Windsor.
- 2010, W26 Hadleigh House and Clifford Lodge, Two Jewels in Windsor’s Historic Treasury.
- 2011, W27 Parings from Park Street- A Georgian Building and a pocketful of personalities.
- 2012, W28 Windsor & Eton Operatic Society 1961-2011.
- 2013, W29 Coronation memories.
- 2014, W30 Upton House School.
- 2015, W31 Agincourt.
- 2016, W32 Service Before Self (about the Windsor Advisory Centre. 1969-2011)
- 2017, W33 The Prince Philip Trust & Obituary to Joyce Sampson
- 2019, W35 Emily Handcock. Adventure in France.
- 2020, W36 When Cricket Saved the Day. (about the Dedworth V1 bomb)
Past and present members of the Windsor Local History Group remember John with fondness and esteem, we will miss him very much:
Roger C: I recall that while I was in hospital back in 2011 John came to visit me. It was a very long walk for him along Wexham Park’s endless corridors, but I appreciated his visit very much indeed. That was the man. A huge generosity of spirit that I will not forget.
Sue A: His contributions to the life of his home-town through his work and the many organisations of which he was a leading member cannot be surpassed. He was ever willing to share that knowledge with all of us.
Andy F: I loved his dry wit and humour, and his local knowledge was encyclopaedic.
Beryl H: John has been a presence in my live sine 1962, when we moved to Windsor. He led the lay stewards at St George’s Chapel, where I volunteered for many years. He would always help when asked, and as a friend and college will be sadly missed.
Elias K: Soon after John had his stroke I visited him, and we had an absolutely jolly conversation on all things Windsor, despite him being so seriously ill. I will miss not having his encyclopaedic brain to pick when I need to know something of Windsor’s diverse history.
Susy S: One of my enduring memories of John will be the privilege and pleasure of working with him on the 2012 Windsor & Eton Facelift Project. John was at the heart of the original Windsor Street Improvement Scheme, inaugurated by Her Majesty The Queen.
Anne T: He was an amazingly humble man for one who knew so much and so many, and his knowledge of Windsor will be particularly missed.
Margaret K: Such knowledge and experience. He helped me with questions and pictures of 1960s Windsor.
Geoff T: My father knew John’s father from the moment that they moved to Windsor, so of course John and I have been very close friends for as long as I can remember. I miss him dearly, however my many happy memories of events together will remain with me for the rest of my life.
Margaret L: We used to see John at the Windsor Amateur Operatic performances, which Price Edward often attended.
Leslie G: I got to know John in the 1970s when I became a lay steward at St George’s Chapel. Attending different functions in Windsor, he would invariably be there. A regular at the Royal Chapel I am glad I had a chat with him there shortly before he died.
Derek H: I shall always be grateful to John for obtaining funds from the Royal Albert Institute Trust and the Prince Philip Trust to help pay for the publication of “Windsor in the Great War”.
Brigitte M: I last saw John in December when I delivered the latest Windlesora to his house. He was in excellent spirit, the old self, with a twinkle in his eyes and an interesting story to tell.