Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)US116
TitleUniversity of Birmingham Staff Papers: Papers of Sidney Alan Barker
Extent11 boxes
DescriptionPersonal and research papers comprising bound volumes of collected research papers 1957-1992; scrapbooks containing material relating to Barker's work with the Carbohydrate Research team in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham, his research fellowships in the USA in 1955-1956 and Canada in 1967, and his visit to Moscow and Kiev in 1962; scrapbooks containing writings by Barker on inventions and inventors, and research in the field of chemistry that was featured in newspaper reports during his career; copies of Barker's autobiographical writings 'Worthy in Learning and Character' and 'Life and Timeline'; and several correspondence files kept by Barker, which include correspondence relating to his work on carbohydrate research, conferences he attended and research contracts he held, as well as correspondence with representatives of a number of companies that he acted as consultant for during the 1980s and 1990s. There is also material relating to Barker's personal life, including typed copies of his memoirs, and papers relating to his research into his family's history, which include a ledger of the Tutbury Savings Bank from the mid nineteenth century, and some tracings of glass engravings made during the 1920s, both of which appear to have had a connection with his ancestors
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archives catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue, or view the catalogue as a PDF file by clicking in the document field below. A paper copy is also available in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistorySidney Alan Barker was born on 13 April 1926 at Wilton Street, Lozells, Birmingham. He attended Handsworth Grammar School and was evacuated with the school to Stroud in Gloucestershire, and later Barnstaple in Devon, returning to Birmingham in 1942. He was interested in chemistry at school, but also played the piano and organ, and had sung in choirs. He was a student at the University of Birmingham between 1944 and 1947, and after gaining a First Class Honours degree in Chemistry he began postgraduate research under Dr Stanley Peat. He also worked with Dr Edward Bourne on the enzymic synthesis of starch. In 1950 Barker was awarded the Mackinnon studentship of the Royal Society. During the 1950s he also spent time working at the Harwell Atomic Research Establishment, and trained as a Rockefeller Fellow at Berkeley, California in 1955 and 1956, learning how to handle and employ radioactive isotopes of carbon and phosphorus. He was appointed lecturer in the Chemistry Department at Birmingham in 1954, and when he returned from the USA he was involved in research into ways of protecting the human body from the effect of gamma rays, looking in particular as the kinds of carbohydrates and proteins found in the human body. He visited Moscow in 1962 on behalf of the Royal Society, as a guest of the Russian Academy of Science. He led the Carbohydrate Research team at the University of Birmingham from 1956, and worked with research students on the role of carbohydrates in human health, in conjunction with researchers at the University of Birmingham Medical School, and at a number of hospitals in the West Midlands. In particular Barker and his team collaborated with Dr Carl Cook and Professor Wilfred Butt at the Women's Hospital on follicle stimulating hormone and its use in fertility treatment. Barker was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1962, and Reader in Carbohydrate Chemistry in 1964. He took up a Canadian Commonwealth Fellowship in 1967, based at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. From the late 1960s, Barker took on a number of consultancies with companies with interests in the use of immmobilized enzymes, or in the attachment of enzymes. In the course of this consultancy work he produced a number of inventions that resulted in patents being assigned to companies. He became Professor of Carbohydrate Chemistry in 1970. After his retirement he retained some of his consultancies, one of which he was still holding in 2009.

He married Ruth Miriam May in 1952, and they lived in Perry Barr, later moving to Selly Oak. They had two daughters, Jane and Elizabeth, and a son, Richard. Ruth died in 1994, and Barker married his second wife, Jean Clare, nee Pearson in 1995. Brother of Philip Edwin Barker (USS111). He died on 14 October 2018
Sources: information within the archive; Accessed March 2019
Related MaterialCadbury Research Library: Special Collections also holds research papers of his brother, Philip Edwin Barker, chemical engineer, who was a student at the University of Birmingham and a member of staff at Aston University, USS111
The Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections also holds the archives of the University of Birmingham and archives of other former staff, officials and students