John Barber was born in London in 1947 and attended Holloway School, North London where he was Head Boy. He left with two grade A GCE A Levels in English and History (gave up Art after a brave attempt in the Lower Sixth). He began his career as a Media Buyer with a leading London Advertising Agency working on client campaigns such as Nescafe, Weetabix and the Government’s Don’t Drink and Drive Campaign.
He left advertising for National Westminster Bank where he spent most of the following 17 years in International Banking liaising with corporate customers; and although not a supporter his final assignment was to arrange a tour of the Far East by Manchester United FC. He was a member of the National Westminster Theatre Club for ten years; first as stage hand, then Stage Manager and finally as producer.
He decided to leave the corporate world and having married, moved to Buntingford where he managed an Off Licence in the High Street. On the birth of his daughter the family moved again in 1996 to live in Hertford and has lived on Folly Island ever since.
In 2001 he became Chairman of the Folly Island Residents Association and helped to oversee the first Residents Parking Zone in Hertford. He was asked to join the then Hertford Town Centre Management Board (later the Hertford Town Partnership) and was appointed Town Centre Manager.
He was the lead organiser for Hertford Fun Day from 2001 until 2005 and in the final year ran the Hertford Music Festival presenting Battle of the Bands as part of the Fun Day events.
The first successful project was Hertford Town Watch which at its height in 2006 had fifty members connected by radio to the town’s CCTV network controlled in Stevenage. Hertford Pubwatch followed along with the Taxi Marshalling Scheme and the introduction of the now monthly Farmers Market in 2004. John was also responsible for the infrastructure of the town’s Christmas lights and the ‘switching-on’ ceremonies. He is particularly sad that the Continental Market remains a one-off despite the efforts of a few people to bring it back as a regular four day event in town.
Owing to Government cutbacks his role as Town Centre Manager was withdrawn in 2010 but he secured funding to launch Hidden Hertford which ran for two years and presented events along with audio/visual tours of the town recorded on to iPods and MP3 players and river trips along the River Lea.
He also edited Ward Times, a non-political on-line newspaper reporting on news and information relevant to market towns for the East Herts district. He has since retired from this and other roles in the town.
He has been writing professionally since 1996 for local and national magazines on social and local history. A non-fiction title was published in 2002 on the then unsolved . This led to a series of presentations at Scotland Yard and the Ripper Society and a contribution to a documentary on Walter Sickert and John Whistler on BBC2.
John now published crime novels on line through Smashwords and Amazon and other non fiction titles of anthologies and modern myths.
Now I have retired and stepped back from all involvement in Hertford. It is not the way that i planned but losing our grandsonin such distressing circumstances made me focus on the family.