Tuesday, 26 January 2010

John Barton, a founder of Birkbeck College

Some months ago I wrote about Dave Barton’s Gx3 grandfather, John Barton (1789-1852), who was a founder, in 1823, of the London Mechanics’ Institute which later became Birkbeck College, part of the University of London. John Barton’s name was included on a commemorative stone which I discovered still existed in the new Birkbeck building. Unfortunately, it was tucked behind protective wrapping while building works were in progress so I was unable to photograph it.

Yesterday, on a grey wintry morning, I went back to take my photographs. The stone is very faded so I’ve pushed up the contrast somewhat. The top picture shows the stone in situ with a cameo of George Birkbeck above. Below this, is the stone in its entirety followed by a list of names which includes John Barton. The bottom photograph shows Birkbeck College with London University’s Senate House in the background. Senate House, built in Art Deco style, dates from the 1930s and was, at one time, one of the tallest buildings in London. During the Second World War the flat roof on top of the building was used for communications equipment by the Ministry of Information. The building, which resembles a 1930s American skyscraper, has been used in films for just that purpose.