Extrordinary Mansfield Folk. - Jack Barker

Another person whose name will only be familiar to some of the older generation was Jack Barker. His name will be, particularly to the people from Arthur Street and the Newgate Lane area, well known.  Although, once again, not familiar to the younger generation.

Jack, and his sister Betty  for many years ran the corner shop at the junction of Arthur Street, and Newgate Lane. Betty had been married at one time, for her name was Mrs Betty Williamson. Jack and Betty took over the shop when their parents retired from the shop. For many years, their parents had run the shop, supplying the residents of Wood Court and the surrounding areas. It was from that time that my wife’s parents got to know the family. When all the residents of Wood Court all moved up to the new estate of Maltby Road, Jack and his sister’s family continued to supply my wife’s family and keep the friendships that had been built.

When my wife and I were first married, Jack used to deliver our rations , but as a young girl, she had to go to the shop to collect them. She was given a penny for going, and had to decide whether to go by bus, or come home by bus. As it was down hill to the shop, she ran down the hill, letting the bus carry the box of rations up the hill home. The fare was 1d each way.

One could not wish for two nicer people to serve you from behind the counter. Jack was a bachelor, and Betty was on her own, so it was the obvious choice for them to take over the business, and run it they did, and very well too.

Jack was born in Nottingham, and went to Whinney Lane School at Ollerton. Living in the Mansfield area for most of his life.

When Jack reached the age of18, he volunteered to join the R.A.F. training as a wireless operator and air gunner. (I also trained as a wireless operator) so was able to talk some of the same language. He was a member of 78 Squadron, Bomber Command, flying 21 Sorties,  losing a leg at the age of 21 years.

For around 30 years, Jack worked for the family shop on Arthur Street. His final working year was as a wages clerk at Clipstone Colliery for approximately 16 years. he moved to Clipstone Drive, Forest Town, from the shop.

Jack had an interest in the Scout Movement, I believe he was an assistant Scout Master, and very much sports minded, playing golf and swimming. He was also a member of BLESMA  and R.A.F.A. 

Comments about this page

  • To me Betty and Jack were Auntie Betty and Uncle Jack, although we were not related through family. Betty was my Godmother. I remember visiting the bungalow on Clipstone Drive in Forest Town where they lived together after Betty’s husband George had passed away. Jack was a good laugh and good to listen to.

    After Betty’s passing I now own a large framed photograph of a Halifax heavy bomber in flight, along the bottom of the frame are various pictures of Jack and his crewmates during their service as well as a smaller photo of his actual plane. Also attached to the bottom of the frame is Jacks RAF cap badge. This picture used to hang on the walls of the bungalow, Auntie Betty was very proud of Jack.

    I believe Jack’s logbook and medals were donated by Betty to the air museum at Newark on Trent. I need to do further research. Maybe my picture should be with the rest of Jack’s RAF history, if I can confirm this.

    By John Hopkins (28/12/2021)
  • I remember Jack Barker well. I went to Newgate Lane school from 1959 to 1965 and I remember that Jack and his sister donated food for the children’s Christmas parties.
    I remember him as always laughing and smiling and don’t remember him ever being miserable.
    All in all, a good egg who was very community minded.

    By Dave Childs (12/04/2020)
  • Alan Curtis yes you are correct Jack Barker was a scout master, he asked me to help his group load up large shed with windows for his groups use. We picked it up from the village of Wellow at a residence very close to the maypole, 1957-1958 not sure.

    By Michael Thomas Prosser (06/03/2016)
  • Hello Val. To be honest, I knew Jack only from the 50’s. My wife Iris knew the Barker family much earlier, for she was born next to the shop in Wood Court. Mrs Hayes had the shop prior to Mr. and Mrs Barker, (Jack and his sister Betty’s parents). Most of the houses in the area used to get their weekly “Rations” from Mrs. Hayes, which did include Wood Court, and when the residents of Wood Court were all moved up to the new housing on Maltby Road they all stayed loyal to Mrs Hayes for their Groceries. That would have been 1935/6.

    Jack’s parents took over the shop, not sure of the date, for Jack was in the R.A.F. As previously mentioned, Jack came down in a plane crash. That is when Jack lost his leg. Those of the Crew who baled out were never seen again. Jack’s father was a small man with grey wavy hair. His mother was average height. Jack was extra tall and had to have an extra long bath fitted in the bathroom.

    Jack and Betty, his sister eventually took over the shop when Jack came out of the R.A.F. As nice a couple as you could ever wish to meet. When we left Mansfield in 1966, Jack and Betty still had the shop.

    By alan curtis (07/03/2015)
  • Hello Val, my grandmother, Mabel Read also lived on Arthur St. I was actually born there in 1951 and we lived with her until we moved to Rainworth. My mum was very good friends with Jack and Betty Barker and they used to look after me sometimes. I can distinctly remember the shop and playing in their living room with their dog. I think it was a black Labrador but I can’t remember its name. The shop had a cellar and I recall helping Jack to carry bundles of sticks up the steps and stack them in the shop.Every time I see Open All Hours on the TV it reminds me of Jack and Betty and happy days long gone.

    By Pete Higgins (06/03/2015)
  • Alan, when I saw the photo of Jack Barker it stirred my memories as I also remember seeing him in the shop.  I remember him being quite tall (or was that because I was small). Trying to work out how old I was.  I was born Nov. 1942.  Which year did Jack leave the shop I remember the two ladies being in the shop more than Jack at one time.  Val.

    By Val (03/03/2015)
  • I remember that shop well as my grandmother lived on Arthur St. We often went to the shop for her.  There was a Pansy Winterbottom who worked there. One of the ladies gave me a large pot doll named Susie(I think it was Polly) I was only allowed to play with it on high-days and holidays as I recall.  One day whilst playing with a friend at her house I slipped back home and got Susie and took her back to my friend’s house.  Very unusual for my mother not to be at home or it would never have happened.  Being disobedient I got my just desserts I knocked poor Susie’s head on the door frame and broke it!  I can’t remember the punishment but there would have been some.  I remember being very upset and a little scared about going back home with a broken Susie.  Val 

    By Val (01/03/2015)

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