Thursday, 21 April 2016

Lighthouses and Lanterns: The Lantern Slides of John Barton (1866-1941)

Here at the Hull History Centre, we are constantly cataloguing new collections. One of these new collections is U DX365 – The Lantern Slides of John ‘Jack’ Bernard Barton.

One box of lantern slides [U DX365]

Jack Barton worked as a chaplain for the Mission to Seamen (MTS), later known as Mission to Seafarers. He was born in India in 1866 to a missionary but grew up in England. Whilst at university, during his vacations, Jack spent time on fishing vessels from Sunderland and in 1889 worked as a layman for MTS in Peel, Isle of Man. In 1890, he was ordained and took up a post as a curate in Brighton. However, concerned by the hazardous working conditions faced by seamen, he moved to Sunderland in April 1892 following his appointment as a Chaplain to the MTS. The role of chaplain involved conducting church services, Bible readings, ship visits and providing welfare services for seamen in dock.

Jack Barton (centre front) with other members of Mission to Seafarers [U DX365/1/1]

He married Susan Thornton in 1895 and they had six children. His role as a chaplain for MTS, in particular as one well known within the charity for improving institutional organisation and attracting larger congregations, meant that the family moved several times including to London, Nottingham, Rousdon, Dover and Swansea.

HMS Timbertown [U DX365/1/9]

In 1917, the Barton's eldest son, Bernard, joined the Royal Flying Corps whilst Jack, under the auspices of MTS, spent three months at Groningen in Holland as Chaplain to the Royal Naval Brigade members interned at 'HMS Timbertown'. After his service in Holland, the Bartons then moved to Dover, where Jack became the chaplain to the men of the Dover Patrol. His final posting for MTS was in Swansea and after having successfully improved the chaplaincy there, the Bartons moved to Great Holland, Essex, in 1923 where Jack became the parish priest. He continued as the vicar of Great Holland until his retirement in 1932, upon which the Bartons moved to Hastings, where they stayed until the outbreak of the Second World War. Possibly owing to German raids on the south coast, they moved once more, this time to Reigate, where Jack Barton died in September 1941 at the age of 74.

Interior of an MTS institute building [U DX365/1/39]

His collection of 186 lantern slides is a mixture of photographs most likely taken by himself as well as slides he owned of religious texts and images. As such, this collection provides an insight into the various aspects of his work, including ship visits, welfare provision and the conducting of religious ceremonies and teaching. All of the photographs taken by Barton are in black and white and feature seafarers and other maritime related scenes. Many of the slides of religious images, some of which are in colour, are copies of paintings and drawings by well-known artists specialising in Christian themes such as Heinrich Hofmann and Harold Copping. Consequently, the slides are a wonderful insight into the personal experiences of those who worked for and of those who enjoyed the services provided by the MTS, while acting as a ‘sister’ collection to the main MTS archive held by the University of Hull at the Hull History Centre (ref. U DMS).

Verity, Archives Assistant

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments and feedback welcomed....