A History of Preston in Hertfordshire
Rose Barker - Preston schoolmistress
Rose Gladys Barker was born on 20 January 1891 at Tooting, London and baptised at Holy Trinity, Upper Tooting on 7 June 1891:
Her father, Henry Barker, was a blacksmith and farrier was from Thaxted, Essex and Ellen, her mother, was a native of Colwill, Herts. The family was living in the three-roomed 18 Fircroft Road, Tooting in 1901, but by the summer of 1902 they had made the move to The Forge, Chiltern Green (see below) near Peters Green and Kimpton, Herts where Henry, Emma and the spinster, Rose, all died.
In September 1902, Rose was a pupil at Kimpton School where she regularly came top of her class. In June 1907, she was appointed as a monitoress and sat the Oxford Senior Examination in 1910. There is a note in the school log book that she had time off in late 1911 to attend an interview at Kelvedon School, Luton, which was probably successful as she handed in her notice shortly afterwards on 29 November 1911. Rose began work as a supplementary teacher at Preston School on 22 March 1920 and was still teaching there in 1946. She was the Infants Teacher during her early career and passed Part II of the Preliminary Certificate Examination and was recognised as a certified teacher from 1 April 1924.
She travelled to Preston by motorcycle and was a familiar sight (and sound, presumably) along the local lanes. Ronald Hartless commented: ‘One person I remember well, although I never met her, was Miss Barker, a school teacher, who used to ride through King’s Walden on a motor bike twice a day. Always clad in a brown leather coat, leather hat and goggles. She had a Francis Barnett two stroke machine with the characteristic ‘pop pop’ noise and a trail of blue smoke. She either travelled from Preston to Kimpton every day, or maybe the other way round. Anyway, I can’t remember her features because I never saw them out of motor cycling garb.’ Her journey to Preston was often impeded by ‘impassable roads’, ‘snow drifts’ and ‘floods at Breachwood Green’. On several occasions the school log book reports her absence due to colds!
The 1939 Register included the Barker household at Chiltern Green:
Henry died on 4 April 1955, when probate was granted to Rose. She died at Forge Cottage on 2 January 1984 leaving an estate of under £40,000.