From a Reader


Congratulations at putting The Bartonian online. This allows many of us to keep in touch with our roots: in my case, despite my immediate family making the shamefull error of moving away 70 years ago!
The article on cycles struck a chord. My great-grandfather, John Furniss, was the son of the last keeper of the Waterside tollgate (and father of 8 children, including Harry and Ruth, who will have taught many of your readers). He started and conducted the Hoppers Brass Band. When a very old man in the 1930's, the band would still visit him and play on his doorstep at 'Beretun', Brigg Road on Boxing Day.
Two of his sons followed him into the company. They prove what good training Hoppers provided. The eldest, Jack, became Works Manager at Hercules, I have aphoto of him by the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, where he went in 1934 to learn mass production methods. They proved very useful when Hercules went over to manufacturing armaments a few years later! His brother, my grandfather Alfred, followed him to Birmingham and worked for Sturmey-Archer, Raynol, Ariel and Sun Cycles (the Rolls Royce of racers, as many thought).
The comments about cycling clubs prompted me to get the biscuit barrel down from the bookcase. "Presented to the Barton Wheelers by Mr F Hopper. mile Bicycle Race won by Mr AE Barraclough 1891" reads the silver escutcheon, and there is a photo in his album to prove it!
What stories lie beneath these old photos. This other great-grandfather, Arthur Barraclough was the son of Master Mariner Capt John of the 'Aimwell'. He was 22 when he won the race, and was already working for Sir Arthur rank in Hull. We still have the wonderful tea service Sir Joseph gave on his wedding to Nellie Potts, of Yucca House, Burgate (now Burgate House). Sadly, he caught TB while travelling for the company. Despite being sent for a cure to Ventnor, Isle of Wight, by that great benefactress, Julia Abigail Holt of Bardney Hall, he died at 28 in 1897. His farewell letter of advice to his 3-year old daughter, Renee Furniss, she kept for the next 91 years, and we read it at her funeral in 1988. Family legend has it that Sir Joseph thought so highly of the young cyclist that he gave his son Arthur as a name in his memory, so we always give a cheer when we see 'J Arthur Rank' at the start of films.
Perhaps every generation should be forced to record its memories. I wonder wether I am the only person still to know that the famous Australian pianist/composer stayed with Mr Dewey at 'Handel House' King Street, Barton when collecting folk songs. In the 1980's, my grandmother remembered her piano teacher cancelling her lessons to show him around. That was in about 1906!

Best wishes to all you lucky Barton residents,
Andrew Marsden (Furniss, Barraclough, Potts, Stamp, chapman etc...)
Suffolk

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