Dr John Barney

John Barney who died in mid-July was an unusual mature student. After a distinguished career at Ernst and Young he came to Norfolk in 1990, not as a well-to-do retiree to the county’s north coast but to study history at the University of East Anglia. He graduated with first class honours and then completed his Ph.D. on the port of King’s Lynn in the eighteenth century. He set up his own publishing venture Mintaka Books, and regularly produced works on Norfolk history, including The Defence of Norfolk, 1793-1815 and The Norfolk Railway:The Railway Mania in East Anglia 1836-1862.


His writings and researches were combined with very active membership of NARHG and the Norfolk Record Society both as a member of their committees and inevitably serving as their meticulous treasurer for many years. He wrote the history of the Record Society on its 75th anniversary. He was also involved in the University’s Centre of East Anglian Studies, editing its annual newsletter for several years and very generously supporting its post-graduate body.

A keen sailor, he ventured to the Baltic most summers and on occasion to the west coast of Canada. But few associated the scholarly historian with an abiding interest in motorcycles, of which he had a much prized small collection and on which for years he ventured forth suitably clad in the full gear. John will be remembered for his warm friendship and integrity and his central role in Norfolk local history for the past 30 years.

We send our condolences to his family.