History in Sketches

I’m currently researching for a future blog about Barclay Baron, to my mind one of the most important figures in Toc H history. If you don’t know much about him then you’ll have to wait a few weeks for that blog to appear. However, in the course of my research I came to realise just how prolific an artist he was. So now, for the first time ever, I am able to bring you a collection of some of his works together in one place.

Toc H Buildings

The following group of pencil sketches depict various Toc H premises from the Upper Room in Talbot House (Sketched when Baron visited it between the end of the war and the purchase of the house for Toc H); Little Talbot House in Ypres (Baron worked for the YMCA in France and Belgium during the World War I and knew both Talbot Houses); the UK and Canadian Marks that were acquired in the 1920s; Queen Anne’s Gate where Toc H had its HQ from 1926-1930; and Pierhead House, Wapping which was a training centre for several years.

Festivals and Masques

This next group depict Baron’s sketches of Birthday Festivals and Masques. Baron was heavily involved in the organisation of the early Festivals and wrote all of the Masques or Mimes that were performed.

Here we see some illustrations of the Masques he wrote along with some Festival venues (the Albert Hall, Crystal Palace, the Guildhall, and York Minster) and the earliest banners used at the Lamp-lighting.

And below is a rare surving colour image of a Baron illustration from a Festival brochure


Since Baron was the one who thought of the idea of using an oil lamp as the symbol of Toc H and who designed the Lamp and Casket used, it is not surprising he made several sketches of lamps and their settings.

Here are just a few as some others appeared in my last blog. The original Lamp and Casket design; Herbert Fleming’s Silver Lamp in the chapel at Woolwich (See A Lamp Miscellany for details) and in its earlier display the the British Empire Exhibition; and Forster’s Silver Lamp in the Warrior’s Chapel in Newcastle Cathedral, Australia.


In 1936 Baron won first prize in the oil painting class of a competition held for the Festival that year. Unfortunately I don’t have a colour copy of his winning entry but this is it in monochrome

The Doctor

In 1952 Baron published his biography of John Stansfeld and the Oxford and Bermondsey Mission. It was illustrated by Baron. The top picture is the image from the hard to find first edition dust jacket (My torn copy I’m afraid) whilst the couple below are from inside the book. There are many others in the book but they are not signed so I haven’t included them even though they are almost certainly Baron.


Baron provided countless maps to illustrate his and others articles in The Journal. Here are a selection

Another oil

This is a monochrome reproduction of an oil Baron painted from the YMCA HQ in Poperinge during the war.


A few images from Baron’s tours of Europe

And finally

Some images not otherwise categorised. From top left to right: The chapel of HMS Courageous (sketched from a photograph); an unspecified Branch chapel; the retreat of St Francis Place in the West Country (run by his friend Father Duncan); St Martin’s Exeter; Tubby’s pyx; the Coat of Arms of Ypres; St Edward’s, Cambridge; St John’s Gate, Clerkenwell; St Augustine’s College, Canterbury; interior of St Edward’s, Cambridge; a very moving piece from Half the Battle; some Priory seals; Toc H ‘furniture’ in a Prisoner of War camp; the Toc H Initation Ceremony choreography; the chapel of the Decima Club in Bermondsey; and Edmund Street’s sword in All Hallows.

Christmas Annual

9 thoughts on “History in Sketches

  1. Fascinating to see Barclay Baron’s work and I look forward to the blog post on Baron. He was an important figure in the history of youth hostels in Britain – my particular interest – and first chairman of YHA (England and Wales) so I look forward to finding out more.


  2. Brilliant collection, I had no idea that he was so gifted as an artist. I had read The Doctor, but didn’t realize that he illustrated the book. Thanks again Steve for shedding a light on this.


  3. Glad you enjoyed it. Sadly he lost much of his work during the Blitz and the reproductions in The Journal are possibly all that survive. I’m hoping some originals turn up during the course of my research for his biography


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