HART, ALBERT ERNEST BARTON
1896 - 1983
The Mundella website recently received an enquiry relating to Barton Hart, our erstwhile music master. The daughter of the late Old Mundellan Roy Skelton (of Dalek and Zippy fame) asked what we knew of Mr Hart, because her father had often said that without the encouragement of his music master he would never have taken up music and acting. Mr Skelton said that he owed everything to Albert Ernest Barton Hart.
We decided to research as much as we could, the man always being a bit of an enigma.
According to the 1901 census, BH was born in 1896 at Heanor, Derbyshire, to Mary and Frederick, a coal miner (hewer below ground). In the 1911 census the family is still at the same address but Frederick is now a Haulage Engine Man, probably at the same pit.
BH attended Heanor Grammar School and St John's College York, where he was the College organist.
In 1915 he went to war, enlisting in the King's 21st Royal Rifle Corps. In 1916 he returned home wounded, but was soon on his way again with the 10th Tank Battalion.
After the war he completed his education and passed his music examinations and diplomas.
From 1920 until 1924 he was a teacher at Alfreton Road Council School; he then moved to Bath Street for four years, and then on to Trent Bridge Central Boys' School from whence he was "poached" to teach at Mundella, although this is hearsay.
In March 1924 BH became the organist at Loughborough Parish Church, where he remained for over 40 years. He at first lived in Loughborough, but despite moving to Nottingham he continued to play both the organ and run the Church choir, as well as helping many a musical youngster along the way.
Mr Brian Saddington, the current organist at Loughborough, remembers BH very well. He was taughteverything he knew by BH, and has many tales to tell about his days as a choirboy and apprentice organist.
He would frequently be sent over the road to the newspaper shop to buy snuff, how many memories that brings back!
BH did not like the Sunday morning services to run on too long, as his treat was to stop on the way back to Nottingham for lunch and beer. He must have been a welcome sight at the Great Central Hotel, Costock.
After retiring in the early 1960s, he went eventually to live in Bleasby. He was fond of Sutton-on-Sea, and I sometimes saw him myself striding out along the 2 mile promenade between Sutton and Mablethorpe, sporting his yellow check "Rupert Bear" waistcoat and his plus fours (or is it plus twos?)
At the present time, nothing is known about the years after he retired. He died in 1983, but by that time Mundella was on the way out, and it is doubtful if any mention was made of his contribution to School life, and to the musical and cultural life of the surrounding area.
I was never a musical child, but in later life I am finding that not only are many pieces of music familiar to me, but that I can also remember some of the words!
Good old Barton!