Dr Barry Worthington, PhD European Studies 2000
1949 to 2017
Former University of Bradford student Dr Barry Worthington died on 22 May 2017, aged 67. He suffered a heart attack at his home in Bury, Greater Manchester, an event which was unexpected, and which came as a terrible shock to all who knew him.
Barry received his PhD in European Studies from Bradford in 2000. Whilst studying for his doctorate, he lectured in Travel and Tourism at Bolton and Bradford; subsequently he went on to lecture in the same fields at Dundee Abertay University, where he stayed until his retirement in 2010.
Barry’s origins were relatively humble. He was born on 1 June 1949 and was raised in Manchester, a city he always loved. He was the only child of Harold, a driver, and Mary; for many years the family lived at 6 Garforth Avenue, Ancoats. Barry stayed on this address after his mother died in 1985 (his father having died some years previously) and in fact kept up the tenancy of Garforth Avenue for as long as he could, even after moving to Scotland in 2000. Such was the pull of Manchester in his life.
Back in the 1950s, it was rare for people from Barry’s background to enter academic life, but this is indeed what he achieved. Aged 16, his intellectual talents were recognised and he transferred to a local sixth form, before going on to Lancaster University in 1967 to read History. Appropriately enough, given Barry’s interest in railways and transport systems, his professor there was Harold Perkins, the well-known railway historian. After Lancaster, Barry worked as an editorial assistant on a pets’ magazine based in Manchester. This was followed by a spell teaching in secondary schools before he joined Mid Cheshire College as a lecturer in General Studies and History in 1979.
Barry loved tourist attractions and was very interested in how these were presented to the public; hence his decision to take a diploma in tourism, and subsequently a PhD. His doctorate involved researching the promotion of tourism in the Baltic states in the post Communist era and he enjoyed many visits to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, as well as many other destinations in Europe. Barry also liked to visit the annual World Travel Fair in London, where he helped with the Estonia stand. Despite his interest in northern and eastern Europe, Barry retained his great affection for Manchester and it is no surprise that he wrote two well received and very thorough guide books about the city, ‘Discovering Manchester’ and ‘The Metrolink Companion’ (Sigma publications).
A major part of Barry Worthington’s life was the East Lancashire Railway at Bury, which he served in many roles for forty years. Just before his death, the Railway Society presented him with an award for his outstanding record of service. Over the years Barry has acted as guard on the trains, worked in the railway shop and conducted tours of the line and Bury Transport Museum. He has also taken on responsibility for meeting and greeting coach parties, and working on the railway’s archives. Barry’s dedication to the enterprise has played a major part in the East Lancashire Railway achieving its status as one of the country’s premier preserved lines.
Despite his commitment to the railway, Barry found time for other interests and for travel. Latterly, he had been working as a guide at Wythenshawe Hall, Manchester, an Elizabethan timbered property. Here, Barry enjoyed dressing up as a Tudor soldier, demonstrating swordsmanship and pike drill to visitors. His energetic wielding of bladed weapons was known to cause some consternation among the more faint-hearted spectators!
Dr Barry Worthington was an immensely knowledgeable man who loved learning, and sharing his vast fund of knowledge with others. When visiting places of interest with Barry, he was often mistaken for the ‘official’ guide, such was his erudition and enthusiasm. He was also a kindly and courteous man who was modest and self-effacing about his considerable achievements. He will be sadly missed, as friend, colleague and scholar.
Written by his friend and former colleague at Mid-Cheshire College of Further Education, Tony Davis - July 2017