Hyde-Barker Travel – The Beginnings

My father, Denzil Hyde-Barker, was the founder of the travel business that bore his name, and travelled to the States in 1951. I was only 12 years old at the time. He had returned from India at the end of the war in 1945 after serving as a Major in the British Indian Army, and just before the start of Indian Independence. After a short time in the Ministry of Transport in Nottingham he decided to set up his own business in Mansfield. I am often asked why he chose the heart of the Nottinghamshire Coal Fields. Let me tell you why.

My parents went to Thomas Cooks in Nottingham, the only travel agent in the county, to purchase tickets to visit my aunt in Ireland. In front of them in the queue was a young miner, still in his work-clothes, and covered in coal-dust. The clerk behind the desk deliberately ignored the miner and began to serve my parents, but my father insisted in a loud voice that the young man, who had been ahead of him, must be served first. Reluctantly the travel clerk complied, and my father stayed to make sure the boy was treated correctly.

It transpired that the young miner had received a telegram at the mine telling him that his mother was dying. He had come directly from the pit to buy a ticket to get him home to his family in Belfast. The ticket was duly issued and the young miner covered his grimy hand with his own clean handkerchief and shook my parents by the hand, with tears of gratitude in his eyes.

Moved by the shameful way this working man had been treated by a middle-class booking clerk, my father vowed, that very day, to open a travel office in Mansfield where working men could be given equal treatment with the middle- and upper-classes when they came to him for advice. His ethic of service was always maintained in our family business.

True to his pledge he opened his first travel shop in 1948, and immediately started travelling to get publicity for his business and because he loved travelling! By 1951 he was visiting the USA as he believed that Mansfield and the surrounding areas had a great deal to offer – Robin Hood and his Merry Men, Sherwood Forest, the Sherriff and the Castle of Nottingham, the Stately Homes of the Dukeries, Lord Byron and Newstead Abbey, the Pilgrim Fathers – and much more. North Nottinghamshire had a rich local history, and he wanted to bring American visitors to our area so that the locals might benefit from incoming Tourism.

His visit to North America was the start of visits to many Mansfields in North America, starting with Rotary Clubs of Mansfield Massachusetts and Mansfield Ohio, followed by those in Canada and subsequently the Mansfields of Australia.

He was also instrumental in founding the Annual “Miss Mansfield” Competition – where the First Prize was a trip to Mansfield Massachusetts! My parents escorted the first young prize-winner to America where she was hosted by a Rotary Family.

My father would have been thrilled to see so many people visiting Mansfield last Tuesday evening. He would have also been delighted to know that the excellent relationships and ties forged in the Fifties between the peoples of the Mansfields in the Old and New World are still as strong as ever.

Michael Hyde-Barker

Mansfield’s Twin Towns

Mansfield’s official relationships with its twinned towns or “sister cities” are recognised in the centre of our town with this dedicated finger sign that shows the directions and distances to each of Mansfield’s official twinned towns.
Each “finger” sign has been correctly pointed in the direction of each town using the latest GPS technology.

Finger_Post_Sign

Camp Mansfield, Blomstrand Island, Nye Alesund,

Kongsfjord, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway

Old wooden trapper’s hut and wheelbarrow, Camp Mansfield, Blomstrandhalvoya,
A house or the oldest name of Camp Morton prospecting camp of the Northern Exploration Co., Ltd., London, on the northern side of Van Mienfjorden, Nordenskold.

It was named after Ernest Richard Mansfield, 1862-1924, mining engineer and explorer, who played a conspicuous part in the mining history of Spitsbergen. He visited Spitsbergen in 1905, 1906 and 1907, and wintered at Camp Bell 1908-09. In 1911 he was instrumental in forming The Northern Exploration Company, Ltd., London. He visited Spitsbergen repeatedly for this company and made extensive claims for it. In 1932 the properties of the company were purchased by the Norwegian government.

Camp_mansfield

“Mansfield”

It’s a case I guess of paradise lost
Ten years back on the hands of the clock
In that little house on Mansfield
On your old block
Sometimes the magic of the past is all we’ve got

Just you and me at a crossroads then
Ain’t it funny how we were old friends
Accidentally thrown together
Did we intend
To be the romantic novel you never want to end

And it’s the contact of the eye that meets across a crowded room
And how I kind of wound up the lyrics to your tune
You said, ‘Funny but it feels like I’ve known you all my life
And how it might feel to kiss you on the mouth tonight’

In between the Star of David and the California moon
The Santa Ana winds blew warm into your room
We were crazy, wild and running
Blind to the change to come
In that little house on Mansfield
We’d wake at the break of dawn
In an Indian summer gone

In the candlelight I can recall
Your naked shadow looking ten feet tall
Like a wild pony dancing
Along the wall
Off balance I found love the only place to fall

 

“Mansfield” is track #4 on the album Songs From The West Coast. It was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin

It’s a case I guess of paradise lost
Ten years back on the hands of the clock
In that little house on Mansfield on your old block
Sometimes the magic of the past is all we’ve got

Just you and me at a crossroads then
Ain’t it funny how we were old friends
Accidentally thrown together
Did we intend to be the romantic novel you never want to end?

And it’s the contact of the eye that meets across a crowded room
And how I kind of wound up the lyrics to your tune
You said, “Funny but it feels like I’ve known you all my life
And how it might feel to kiss you on the mouth tonight”

In between the Star of David and the California moon
The Santa Ana winds blew warm into your room
We were crazy, wild and running, blind to the change to come
In that little house on Mansfield we’d wake at the break of dawn
In an Indian summer gone

In the candlelight I can recall
Your naked shadow looking ten feet tall
Like a wild pony dancing along the wall
Off balance I found love the only place to fall

And it’s the contact of the eye that meets across a crowded room
And how I kind of wound up the lyrics to your tune
You said, “Funny but it feels like I’ve known you all my life
And how it might feel to kiss you on the mouth tonight”

In between the Star of David and the California moon
The Santa Ana winds blew warm into your room
We were crazy, wild and running, blind to the change to come
In that little house on Mansfield we’d wake at the break of dawn
In an Indian summer gone

Wake at the break of dawn
In an Indian summer gone
Wake at the break of dawn
In an Indian summer gone

At the break of dawn
At the break of dawn
At the break of dawn