Martin Barker, master/housemaster 1950s, any news?

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brian walling
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Martin Barker, master/housemaster 1950s, any news?

Post by brian walling » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:42 am

Martin W Barker, a classics teacher, was my senior housemaster in Maine A from 1956 (when he replaced Colin Tod) until I left in Dec 1960. He joined CH, I believe, in 1954 or 1955 and presumably started then as a junior housemaster in another house.

Does anybody have any recent news or information on him? He must be well into his 80s, if still alive. I'd like to contact him, if he's still with us.

The reason for this is that I recently cleared out some of my oldest archives, mainly a lot of useless material from my CH days but a few interesting items among which a copy of the printed order of service for Martin Barker's church wedding at Chipstead, Surrey in December 1957, just after the end of the Michaelmas Term. This was not announced to us in Maine A before the event but some of us spotted an announcement about the coming wedding during our daily reading of the Daily Telegraph. Since this gave details of time and place and since this was not too far from where three of us lived south of London, we resolved to turn up unannounced at the service during the Christmas break and surprise them with our good wishes, which we successfully did. The three of were myself, Patrick Hildreth and Roderick Jones. We all travelled from our various homes in South London and Surrey to the event and back by bicycle. (I can't imagine doing that these days!)

The bride was a young lady called Judith Delafield, from the Chipstead area. The word on the street back in Maine A before and after the event was that she had been Head Girl at the well known girls' school at Bramley near Guildford (St Catherine's) and that Martin B had met her during his involvement in organising the annual CH Grecians' Dance with the girls at Bramley. I never participated in that event, which I believe was staged for First-Parting Grecians in the Summer Term of their final year -- something to help fill up the time before going up to Oxford or Cambridge on scholarships secured earlier in the year. I left CH in December immediately after securing my place at Cambridge, in order to earn money for a few months before entering university life and I don't recall specifically having the chance to go to a Bramley Dance. I did, however, find myself a wife some ten years later (who is still with me) after venturing into the computer dating process which was then in its very early stages (1971).

I was told by David Jesson-Dibley, another 1950s CH master, sometime in the late 80s when my wife and I met him socially in Battersea, London, that Martin Barker and his wife were then in Coventry and that MB had taken up a headship in that region after leaving CH. I also recall seeing MB mentioned in the Old Blue News around 2005-2006 as being one of the participants at a Maine A house reunion held at CH .

Fragments of information from sources such as the BT Phone book, electoral roll and so on show a Martin W and Judith E Barker at an address in Earlsdon, Coventry up to about 2013, which seems likely to be the Barkers in question. I shall next week try the CHOBA office to see whether they have an up-to-date record for Martin Barker and whether they could forward him a message from me and I can do the same with the alumni office of his old school, Marlborough. I am particularly anxious to pin this down since, if the Barkers are both still alive, this month would be exactly 60 years from their wedding that I attended and would be their Diamond Wedding anniversary and something worthy of congratulations. I thought it worth while to go out to Forum members first on this, before contacting the CHOBA office or Marlborough, to see whether anyone has any readily available recent news on the Barkers.
Ma A 53-60

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J.R.
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Re: Martin Barker, master/housemaster 1950s, any news?

Post by J.R. » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:37 am

You could try the CH Office direct to see if they have any information.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Re: Martin Barker, master/housemaster 1950s, any news?

Post by Foureyes » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:24 pm

Brian,
Can't help you find Martin Barker today, but the name rings a distant bell. Would he have been a junior housemaster in Lamb B in the early 50s, when I was there? A young, very pleasant, quietly-spoken man as I recall.
I see that you live in Penang, which must be one of the roughest, toughest places on earth to be stuck in!! All that sun, the sea, the beaches, the food, the restaurants, and very nice people. I once spent a week in an hotel there - can't remember the name but it was circular in shape with a hollow centre - lovely place. Lucky chap!
David
(Lamb B 1949-55)

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Re: Martin Barker, master/housemaster 1950s, any news?

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:25 pm

Again, can't help you find him now. But he was Hall Warden at my first CH meal, tea on the day of arrival. That was Michaelmas 1955, so presumably he was not a 'new boy' then. I only encountered him personally as my master for non-classical-grecians' Latin (in a class which also included classical grecians, so I was a bit out of my depth*). I found him very pleasant, though he lacked the flair of, say, Pat Daunt. I think my last term (Summer 63) was also his -- as someone said, he got a headmastership somewhere.

Needless to say, he was nicknamed Bocker.

* One thing I remember in particular. We were to translate a piece about Peter the Great into Latin. He suggested we translate 'Peter the Great' as 'Jugurtha'. As a professional translator, my mind still boggles.
Th.B. 27 1955-63

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Re: Martin Barker, master/housemaster 1950s, any news?

Post by brian walling » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:14 am

J.R. wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:37 am
You could try the CH Office direct to see if they have any information.
Thanks. I have now contacted the CH Office but will not receive a reply until they resume after the Christmas/New Year break. Meanwhile, however, the OB desk (Gina Skillings), who looked into another OB for me, has told me that they do have a mail address for Martin Barker and have offered to forward a letter for me, which I have followed up. I'll post any news here.
Ma A 53-60

brian walling
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Re: Martin Barker, master/housemaster 1950s, any news?

Post by brian walling » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:34 am

Foureyes wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:24 pm
Brian,
Can't help you find Martin Barker today, but the name rings a distant bell. Would he have been a junior housemaster in Lamb B in the early 50s, when I was there? A young, very pleasant, quietly-spoken man as I recall.
I see that you live in Penang, which must be one of the roughest, toughest places on earth to be stuck in!! All that sun, the sea, the beaches, the food, the restaurants, and very nice people. I once spent a week in an hotel there - can't remember the name but it was circular in shape with a hollow centre - lovely place. Lucky chap!
David
(Lamb B 1949-55)
Thanks for your kind words about Penang. My wife andf I made a conscious decision to retire here ten years ago and it has worked out very well. (If anyone is interested in our criteria for this choice or in the real plus and minus points of Penang today, just send me a private message.)

The hotel you stayed at was possible the Golden Sands Resort - see its shape on Google Earth at 5.47708N, 100.25142E. I live some 7km roughly east of that.

I checked the school lists for my years, which I still have, and yes Martin Barker was indeed junior housemaster in Lamb B in 1954-55, before he replaced Colin Tod as senior housemaster in Maine A.
Ma A 53-60

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