David Barber the cricketer does not detain the historian for very long – he had a First-Class career of just two matches, one for Nottinghamshire and one for the Free Foresters.

But Sir Thomas David Barber, 3rd Baronet Barber of Greasley, born 18 November 1937 at Carlton-in-Lindrick, is a rather different proposition.  The Barber family is deeply connected to the North Nottinghamshire coalfield, its towns and industries, and to the civic life of the county.  One of his ancestors was a colliery owner and inventor – said to have developed an early gas turbine engine – and the family were the founders of the Barber, Walker company; Thomas Barber (1738-1818), in 1787 went into partnership with Thomas Walker of Bilborough to found the firm of Barber, Walker & Co., which remained one of the most important colliery companies in the East Midlands coalfield down to the nationalisation of the industry in 1947.

The novelist, D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) was the son and grandson of Barber Walker employees and grew up in a company house in Eastwood. Lamb Close House, the  Barber family home near Eastwood, appears under different names in several of his novels – it is even a possible model for Wragby Hall in Lady Chatterley’s Lover - as does its owner, Major T P Barber, with whom the novelist appears to have had a fractious relationship. Ironically, the former Barber Walker company offices in Mansfield Road (now Durban House) were briefly used as a Lawrence heritage centre (closed in 2016). 

It was Major Thomas Philip Barber, David Barber’s grandfather, on whom the title was first bestowed in 1960, one of the last hereditary baronetcies to be created before they were abolished in 1964.  The Major had a colourful life, beginning with early tragedy when he accidentally shot and killed his younger brother, and served in the Boer War and WWI, in which he was thrice wounded and lost a hand.  He served as a member of Nottingham County Council for more than 60 years, held many public offices and was Hon Col of the South Nottinghamshire Hussars Yeomanry.  It was for these public services that he was ennobled, taking the title Barber Baronet of Greasley.

Sir Thomas David Barber, always known by his middle name, did not inherit Lamb Close House but lived primarily in Inkpen, Berkshire and is thought to now be resident near Marlborough in Wiltshire.  He played both his First-Class cricket matches in 1960, the year of his grandfather’s peerage.

In the first, against Cambridge University at Fenner’s, he made three and nought in a match that Notts lost by 161 runs; for the Free Foresters he made two not out, a meagre contribution to a five-wicket win.  He had played twice for the Notts Second Eleven in the previous season and all his other cricket of note was played for Eton College, while he was a student there, or for the Eton Ramblers.

His father, William, and uncle, Thomas Cecil, each played cricket up to Second Eleven standard and his great uncle, also William, had two First-Class matches for Nottinghamshire in 1904.


June 2020

Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 422

See Sir David Barber's career stats here