Barry & Brenda Barton
Barry & Brenda have been married for over 60 years, they have three daughters and four grandchildren. It was interesting to talk to them surrounded by family photos and they are obviously very proud of them all.
Barry joined Rank Xerox in 1971 after working at a number of other companies including Midlands Auto Components in Gloucester, did National Service in the RAF, Wessex Wholesale Electric and then the Pearl Assurance. His first manager at Mitcheldean was Maurice Harrison of Plant facilities. Then Works Engineering in a variety of locations onsite.
Barry was invited to help create a S&SC Snooker team in 1972 with Bob Smith, John Wilks, Gordon Davies and Fred Royal. He was then asked to join the S&SC Committee to represent the Snooker team. Initially they played at the YMCA in Cinderford as they did not have any snooker table(s).
They then bought a couple of snooker tables from a company called Padmore, which were initially installed in Building 6 opposite the Canteen/Ballroom building down the steps. This was an area recently vacated by Personnel which had moved to Build 23.
Brenda worked for Sutcliffe Catering based at Rank Xerox Mitcheldean, as a cashier for 10 years. She also did many other things, helping out on the tills, functions etc, as “just counting money is boring”. Banking the takings at Lloyds Bank in Mitcheldean on her own.
Brenda also, working for Sutcliffe Catering, worked at the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Three Counties Choirs Festival amongst other locations.
John Earl was also on the Committee and they had a variety group that went out and entertained the elderly. The entertainers included Sadie Pritchard, Jack Benbow and Gordon Davies. The entertainment was sometimes held in Rank Xerox Ballroom, in Bream Village Hall and similar venues. Barry joined the group. In 1973 the majority of the S&SC Committee went to Rank Xerox house to obtain permission to build a new S&SC. This was agreed and the Company said that the building could be built on an area at the south end of the main car park. This on land created by the movement of soil from the building of the new ISC (Building 41 later). The company agreed to charge a peppercorn rent of £1 per year for the ground.
The ground was surveyed and passed okay to build. The building took place in 1977. The build was completed in September 1978 and J Maldwyn Thomas agreed to perform the opening ceremony. As a result of changes to his work schedule the Opening Ceremony was pulled forward two weeks and this created a bit of a panic to get it completed on time. This entailed the whole committee working very long hours into the early hours to make it happen.
Phil Turner was the apprentice selected to cut the first ‘sod’ and Barry bought a spade and had it plated it chrome in the Plating Shop.
At the time of the discussion, a couple of pieces of memorabilia were given by Barry and Brenda for the Xerox Museum.
As part of his Committee activities Barry worked behind the bar with Cyril and Nancy Beard, in these days the S&SC was in the building behind the Canteen (Building 13).
The meetings in preparation for the build of the new Social Club were held upstairs in the old social club. Tony Haines was the Chair of the Committee until he left the Plant in the early 1980’s. Barry followed Tony as Chair for the next few years.
In order to raise funds for the build of the new S&SC clubhouse entertainment, including Sundowners (Ron Beddis) and race nights, was held. Pat Jordan used to organise the Race nights with Anne Fox (S&SC Secretary) and Brenda being the ‘bookies’.
The whole Committee worked very enthusiastically and for long hours to raise the funds. The members of the Committee were Roy Steward, Wilf Jones (Chess), Bill Jones, Gordon Cruickshank (Treasurer), John Johnson, Don Parkinson, Sadie Pritchard, Roger Kempster, Anne Fox and Pat Jordan.
The building design was created by Mike Wilkinson and Geoff Harrison of Plant Facilities. They worked with Basil Marfell of W. F. Giles to build it.
On busy nights there were three bars open at times keeping everyone very busy.
Unfortunately, the S&SC closed late 2016. The S&SC trophies were moved to the Museum and are now on display.
During his time at Mitcheldean Barry worked in Works Engineering and later the Export Department working alongside Les Lewis, working for Phil Davies.
Barry mentioned that when he reached 80 he was presented with a voucher by Bob Turner on behalf of the Long Service Association.
Does Barry’s name appear on any the Snooker trophies?
Barry’s father played in two bands called the Sylvan and the Carlton. An aunt played the violin in another band, A musical family obviously.
Barry’s father was given piano lessons in Gloucester by Ronald Brown who also taught Barry to sing. Ronald was a Variety Agent who did bookings.
Barry was a boy soprano singer and as a result appeared on one occasion on the same bill as Frankie Howard at the Dowty Rotol Social Club in 1948. Billed as the ‘Wonder Boy Singer’.
One of the bands engagements was for the USAF at Fairford towards the end of WWII. For Barry this resulted in pockets full of sweets to take away. Sweets were plentiful for US troops but not in the general community due to rationing.
On another occasion the band played at the Cheltenham Town Hall on the same bill as the Victor Sylvester Orchestra.
A few other names that came into the conversation:
Cynthia Haynes as she was the first person Barry met when he came into Personnel reception for his interview.
Sally Meek whose father played in the same band as Barry’s father.