A Postcard to Captain Barton

A question posed by Steve Davis

“I guess I was about 8 years old when I started putting together a stamp collection. It was just a passing phase, and probably only lasted a year of two.

But I’ve never had the courage to throw away my stamps; maybe I think that one day I could take them to Flog It!  who knows.

However, I recently remembered that there was something unusual in my collection. I must have found this piece of postcard blowing about in Bowers Road in the early 1960s, about 30 years after it was sent to Captain Barton of Rhoda Road.

As you can see, the Captain was running a Riding School and the card was stamped in Brockenhurst,  Hampshire at 10pm 31st August 1933.

Who was Captain Barton?”

On Ancestry members of the archive found  the following information and believe that this man was Captain Barton, unless anyone knows otherwise.

Edwin Richard Barton

Born:  3 July 1892
Baptised: 2 October 1892 at St. Mary’s, Walthamstow, Essex.
Father: Richard Charles Barton
Mother : Louie (sic)
1911 Census: Living with parents at 10 Runwell Terrace, Southend
Married Gwendoline Jones on  17 April 1915 at Stanway, St Albright, Essex.
1939 Register: Living at ‘Dehra Doom’ (sic), Downer Road, with his wife and mother, Louise Barton
Died: 27 August 1973
Military service: See picture: British Army World War 1 Medal Rolls Index Card

Although the postcard shows the address of the riding school as Rhoda Road, the 1937 Electoral Register shows Edwin Richard Barton as living in “Dehra Doon”, Downer Road , with his wife and mother.  The list linking house names to house numbers shows the house as being number 31.

The difference between the addresses can be explained by looking at the old map of the area.  The present position of 31 Downer Road was identified using Google Street View and is marked by the ‘Red’ arrow.  It can be seen that the land on which the property stands stretches through to Rhoda Road, shown by the ‘Green’ arrow.  Near to Rhoda Road can be seen two lines of small buildings which probably were the stables for the riding school.  Assuming that this is the case then the riding school could have been addressed as being in Rhoda Road.

Interestingly, the house name, “Dehra Doon” is of Indian origin and possibly is linked to Edwin’s role in WW1.  He could have seen service in India or more likely was involved  with  the Dehra Dun Brigade, a group of Indian soldiers helping the Allied war effort.

The postcard addressed to Captain Barton
Steve Davis
British Army World War 1 Medal Rolls Index Card for Richard Edwin Barton
Extract from the 1937 Electoral Register
Extract from House Names / House Numbers list
Map showing location of number 31 Downer Road
National Library of Scotland maps
Probate listing for Edwin Richard Barton

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  • Having seen the information collated by the members of the archive it would appear that Captain Barton had no children, as he was living in Downer Road in 1939 (he would have been 47 yrs old then) just with his wife and mother. This may well be why the stables seem to have been abandoned, as he would have been in his 70’s in the 1960’s and he may have become ill or infirm, with no one to take over the riding school.

    By glen cameron (07/08/2023)
  • Dear Glen,

    Thank you for sending your fascinating comments to the Archive, and adding another piece to the jigsaw on Captain Barton. I have added it to the page.

    Kind Regards,

    Pamela J. Bird-Gaines (Editor)

    By Pamela Gaines (07/08/2023)
  • At last I have finally found information of a Captain Barton that has been bugging me for years.

    This all started like you Steve in the mid 60’s (1965/1966) I was about 13/14 years old living in Benfleet. A group of us girls (who were horse mad) found ourselves walking down to the end of Bowers Road and into what I thought was on the edge of Thundersley Glen. I cannot remember how long we walked but came across what looked like some abandoned stables. There were roughly three or four quite large stables, still with their old straw bedding laid down. A locked nissan type hut stood next to them and being very curious, we broke the lock and once inside it was like walking into another era. There were racks of old army/cavalry saddles (very uncomfortable looking) and other equestrian objects, this hut was obviously his office/tack room. The long gone horses must have been huge (possibly up to 17h) as the various bridle bits were much larger than I had ever seen at the time – hence the large stables! – as were the horseshoes lying about. There must have been some Indian Army connections, as we found a large ledger book that was used for the booking of riding lessons. The horses all had Indian names with the people who were to ride them and what he was charging.

    It all seemed as if someone had just locked everything up and walked away. Would have loved to have known what happened to him and his horses – maybe someone will see this and let us all know.

    I am guessing these stable were in use in the 1930’s through to the 1950’s as he would have been 81 when he died in 1973 and in the early 60’s the stables already seemed to have been abandoned.

    So glad I found your story as this has always been at the back of my mind and could never, up until now, find out any information about the little abandoned stables in the woods. I would love to know what happened to them, I expect they may have been demolished as it seems so many houses have now been built at the end of Bowers Road and beyond. Bowers Rd back then ended next to the playing fields of the school opposite.

    It is times like this that I wished I had had a camera and taken photographs but now they are only in my memory.

    What a pity there are no records left of him and his riding school, what a story he could tell us. It would interesting to know if any family or friends are left and still living in the area. I bet Pam Brown (nee Banister) would have known about him but sadly she has passed on.

    By glen cameron (07/08/2023)

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