Margaret Barton: author

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here.  It’s been even longer since I’ve done any family history research.  Slowly though, I’m beginning again.

But this post will be about my early days of – ahem- publishing.

My earliest attempts at writing date from my days in Sandhutton.  My father had gone to London to look for work, since rural North Yorkshire wasn’t on the look-out for university educated Poles, and I had just started at the village school.

I was a shy, slightly earnest little thing at my London primary school.  By the time I was nine or so, my friend Rona and I were spending most of our free time writing and drawing for our very own magazine . I have no idea what its title,  PIBA, stood for.  Print run?  One copy.  Readership?  Two.  Us.

Disaster struck when Rona and family moved to Maidstone, leaving the editorial team stranded 60 miles apart.  No matter.  We continued our labours for one further edition, as this letter shows.  Who knows what shocking things I revealed in my own letter to Rona?

An editorial conference, 1950s style.

As my primary school days drew to a close, I decided that play writing was the thing.  The Haunted School  owes everything to the boarding school stories by the likes of Angela Brazil., and to heroes such as Jennings and Darbishire.  My teacher decided that this gripping yarn should be performed at the end of year prize giving, and my mother helped me write out multiple copies.  Photocopying was unknown, and not many people had typewriters at home.  Naturally I got the main part.

My mother seems to have helped me out when it came to making copies of this piece.
A no-expense spared, state-of-the-art programme for my final Prize Day at Ebley House School.

When I went to Grammar School, I continued to write. There was the odd competition.  Here’s proof that I got to the finals of a Daily Mirror (what?) competition in 1960, when I was 13.  I find my offering, when I read it now, to be stilted and dated.  A lively personal writing style was not encouraged.

I did quite well in the competitions I occasionally entered for The Young Elizabethan magazine, whose readership consisted of the now obsolete 1950s grammar school child.  Perhaps I should start buying up back copies on e-bay.

Then I pretty much stopped writing for pleasure.

I didn’t begin again until I started blogging about my life, first of all in France, then back in England.  Later still, I joined Ripon U3A Scribblers.  Our facilitator, the ever-resourceful and inspirational Sheila, wrings stories, memoirs, observations, poems, flash fiction ….. words of every kind from us.  We won’t be publishing our oeuvre.  But we do have fun.


18 thoughts on “Margaret Barton: author

  1. Who else started singing ‘Upidee’ with gusto!

    I have always ‘remembered’ writing a play for school myself – maybe mistaken or maybe in another year? Oh to have a good memory and to have kept such interesting resources.


    1. Oh, I’m so glad you’ve seen this, as I’m so conscious I owe you a reply. I’m an inveterate hoarder – hence all this stuff, though I have had a big clear out in the last few years. I have a feeling you might have been involved in PIBA too. Does it ring any bells? I definitely remember ‘Upidee’ though, as well as the deeply unsatisfactory, for Primary School pupils, ‘Who is Sylvia?’


  2. What a treasure trove! Such interesting tidbits from the minds of young girls–what in the world did you write to Rona, that she had to hide from her mother?! I wonder why you stopped writing? Why do little kids who love to draw and dance and sing and write just stop and decide they are not creative? It’s too bad . . . but you found your way back to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I seriously doubt that my disclosures were particularly racy. And I can’t remember why the relationship fizzled. I did go to stay with her once. There’s a problem with we women changing our names on marriage. Googling becomes impossible. And creativity? Not sure that this was a prized quality in good Grammar School girls.


  4. I seem to be envious of you on a regular basis at the moment! Today I’m envious of these precious historical documents – I have nothing of the kind although there would have been many produced over the years. I shall be conjuring up my own memories of diaries, letters, poems, stories… But did I ever write a play? I think not 🙂


  5. I’m such a hoarder. Recently, I made myself get rid of lots of stuff, but I didn’t always make good choices. I didn’t have a scanner then either – I think that’s the way forward. I bet you make an excellent job of conjuring up your memories. Please share!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Margaret! I hope you see this–I think my comments on your other blog are going into a spam folder–can you please check?? I’ve been reading and commenting but it doesn’t seem like the comments are showing up?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Kerry

    Oh my goodness, yes, you’re spam! I haven’t checked in a little while, and there you are among the purveyors of porn. I had missed you and was hoping that all was well. I knew you were at least glancing at my posts, as you always ‘liked’ them. I can’t take the time just this minute, but I’ll enjoy reading and replying to your comments very soon. So gald you’re still here. Next problem…. fix the problem. I’ll see what I can do about that.


  8. Excellent job with the family history. You’ve certainly done your research! Charles Barton was my second great uncle, by the by.


    1. I wish I’d done so much more when my mother was alive. So many gaps, and there seems to be little I can do about it. How did you come across this by the way?


  9. oh wow Margaret, how fabulous to have these memories and all these fabulous mementos of your achievements. And what an incredible family resource you are creating through the blogging – I shall enjoy looking back through your writings

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much. I can emotional & sad but I think how about manege it life live that time. I read & enjoyed.🙏✍️

        Liked by 1 person

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