Barry Horne, one of the campaigners who led the successful efforts to save an old building in Dunstable’s Church Street from demolition, has died aged 67.
The building, now the home of the Chez Jerome restaurant, became a symbol of local dismay at the modernisation of much of the town centre, and the interest aroused by the campaign led to the formation of the present Dunstable Local History Society.
Barry, who was disabled by polio caught when he was aged seven, was an outspoken and sometimes controversial figure amongst the town’s historians. In recent years he tried to produce evidence to demonstrate that the site of Queen Boudicca’s last battle against the Roman was on the plain now occupied by Manshead Academy.
And in 2013 he was among the authors of a lavishly illustrated book, “Early Dunstable in Maps and Pictures”, which attempted to deduce the location of various vanished medieval buildings, including King Henry I’s palace.
He was a great champion of the Manshead Archaeological Society, which he joined in 1973, and despite his disability, took an active part in its excavations during a particularly exciting time of discovery.
He left the Manshead group in 2005 following some internal disagreements, and went on to co-found the history society in Leighton Buzzard.
His other great interest was astronomy, and he had travelled to Peru, Indonesia and China to witness eclipses of the sun.
He worked at the Open University at Milton Keynes, where in later years he became an expert in computer programming.
He went to Australia for a month to install a university computer system which he had originally designed for use in the UK, and which still seems to be in use in both countries. He also used his computer skills to print a number of local history books.
He leaves his mum and dad, John and Joan, and his brother Russell. His funeral is at 11am on Monday, July 17, at Eaton Bray Church.