John Barber

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22 Jul 1929
Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire


04 Feb 2015
Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain


Great Britain

Grands Prix:

1 (1953)

A former Billingsgate fish merchant. In truth, his appearance at the Argentine Grand Prix of 1953 was remarkable as he didn't have a lot of racing background, and only started in 1951 in hillclimbs. Later in 1953, he was involved in fellow fishmonger James Neilson's fatal accident in the British Empire Trophy - Neilson was thrown out of the car and Barber was involved in the aftermath and convinced he had run over and killed Neilson. Barber was distraught, and although it quickly became clear Barber was not at fault, he didn't race much after that, finally finishing in 1957. Barber's father, Stanley Swannell Barber himself saw overseas action, both as an early member of the Royal Flying Corps during World War One, but also for business (Barber Senior ran the fishmonger business that John then took over), travelling to America in the year of John's birth. Barber joined the family firm from school and in the 1950's the firm bought a salmon fishery in Galway, and then an eel Fishery in Toombridge, Ireland. John was based over in Ireland for a little bit, but it was his brother who ran the day-to-day operations. In the late 1960's, Barber sold the lease of both fisheries, without advising his brother, to the Irish Government, who subsequently ran it until 2017. The feud which then ensued, plus tax issues and family disapproval of the whole scenario led John to move overseas with family rumours of both Europe and South America. His current whereabouts and whether he was even still alive were unknown until recently. He died in 2015 in Mallorca.

Biography last updated 21 Dec 2019