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Professor William Sidney Barry (May 1919 to Jan 2012) was, by any measure, a remarkable man. As well as being an accomplished author, shrewd businessman, eclectic entrepreneur, academic, erudite teacher and generous philanthropist, he possessed a razor-sharp intellect and wit.

​Having served as an ambulance driver in World War 2, Dr Barry graduated in Economics from the London School of Economics and obtained his PhD as the result of research into airline economics. He is the author of many management training books including the remarkably successful work entitled The Language of Aviation. He soon became the Training and Education Manager at British European Airways (BEA) which later merged with BOAC to become British Airways.

​He left BEA to start his own unique group of companies which, in 1969, included one of the first privately owned Management Training Centres in the UK which latterly became Lane End Conference Centre – a first class Conference & Events venue for over 50 years.

​Dr Barry’s group of companies reflected his own diverse interests and included at various times, an art gallery in London, a Japanese pottery in Devon, a HiFi shop in Reading, a venue finding agency and a marketing company.

In the 1980s, he was the driving force in creating what was at the time an unusual commercial partnership with Swindon Borough Council to turn Lydiard Park Mansion, an historic house to the West of Swindon with links to the Spencer family, into a 37-bedroom conference centre. The successful arrangement shared the profits with the Council and enabled them to turn the ground floor of the mansion into a museum.

Above all, Dr Barry was particularly interested in Japan; its culture, art, cuisine and people. This love of all things Japanese extended to the establishment in 1973, with his support, of a unique English Language School (EJEF Study Centre) aimed at giving Japanese diplomats and businesspeople a knowledge and understanding of Diplomatic / Business-English. EJEF finally closed its doors in March 2023 after 50 years as a successful teaching establishment in Lane End in Buckinghamshire. A great many Japanese diplomatic/business trainees would spend up to 8 months at the school, staying with local host families to fully absorb the British way of life.  EJEF was also providing Japanese language courses to many British and international institutions.

In 1976, and unhappy at the disproportionate amount of support given to the academic elite studying in esoteric fields when compared to that given to students preparing for essential vocations, Dr Barry formed a charitable Trust in his name and The William Barry Trust has been helping students ever since.

​Dr Barry was also a well-respected Honorary Professor at The University of West London where he was a great supporter of both the School and its students, particularly those attending its School of Hospitality and Tourism. In 2012 The William Barry Trust made a generous donation towards the redevelopment of the University’s main lecture theatre and The Dr William Barry Theatre is now enjoyed by both students and the local community.  

​In 2015 a bench was placed in Primrose Hill in London, on the path from Regent’s Park Road, in memory of Dr Barry who, living nearby, loved to walk there every day in his later years.

The plaque reads:

Professor William Barry

Scholar, entrepreneur, writer, traveller.

Generous, gracious and warm,

He has transformed many of our lives.

Professor William Barry
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