The Twickenham Museum
People : Watermen and Divers

Ernest Barry
Champion sculler and Bargemaster
c1886 - 1968

Ernest Barry in 1950.

Ernest Barry was a local waterman who won the Doggett Coat and Badge Race in 1903, on the River Thames. In 1910 he competed for the World Professional sculling championship. The race took place on the Zambezi river and Barry was defeated by the New Zealander, Richard Arnst. In 1912 Barry won the championship on the Putney to Mortlake section of the Thames and held the title for 5 years. He lost this title to Alfred Felton on the same course in October 1919, but regained it in 1920 racing against Felton at Palmetta in Australia. He retired from the Championship in1921.

A Royal Waterman

Barry had been made a royal waterman in 1913. He saw service in the army in the First War. For two or three years in the early 1920s he was landlord of the Fox Inn in Church Street Twickenham, but had given that up by 1922, moving to No.5 Bonser Road with his wife Lottie. The Barrys had five children. Lottie was by birth a Hammerton a member of the large family that lived in no25 The Embankment, now the home of The Twickenham Museum. One of Lottie's cousins was Walter Hammerton, waterman and ferryman who was the victor in the Earl of Dysart vs Hammerton case of 1913-15.

Barry with colleagues on his appointment as Royal Barge Master in 1950.

Later life

In 1950 Ernest Barry became the Royal Barge Master to King George VI, and later to Queen Elizabeth II until he retired on the grounds of age. The photograph, which he gave to Walter Hammerton, shows him standing with, on his left H H Barry and Fred Peters and on his right M Gibbs and J Bushnell. He spent the rest of his life at Bonser Road, off the lower end of Cross Deep, dying in July 1968 aged about 86.

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