Philip Barker

Philip Edwin Barker, 87, died peacefully on Wednesday 18 January 2017 at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch following a brief illness.

He leaves his wife of 63 years Betty, daughter Susan, two sons Roger and Jonathan, four grandchildren and many close friends.

Born and raised in Lozells, Birmingham he was the son of Gladys and Philip Henry Barker, a Tinsmith. Philip was the third of four children; Olga, Alan and Audrey.

In his early years Philip would help at the local greengrocers and learnt to play the piano, achieving grade VI. After finishing at Handsworth Grammar School in 1946 Philip joined the army and was attached to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers until 1949. On leaving the army he attended Birmingham University until 1952, completing a degree in Chemical Engineering. After his degree he joined Midland Tar Company and was involved in the commissioning of a new plant for the production of important aromatic hydrocarbons derived from coal tar.

In 1956, Philip returned to Birmingham University as a lecturer in Chemical Engineering supervising PhD students, conducting his own research projects and made several trips to the USA and Europe to present his work. In 1968, Philip obtained a Doctor of Science from Birmingham University. He was the first person to achieve a DSc in the newly formed Chemical Engineering Department.

In 1970 Philip became a Professor at Aston University. Along with Professor Jefferies, the then Head of Department, he was responsible for building up a department of 300 undergraduate and post-graduate students in the new Chemical Engineering Building. Philip retired in 1995 at the age of 66.

Philip enjoyed sailing, spending time with the family, travelling and playing the piano. He particularly enjoyed visiting Wisemans Bridge in Pembrokeshire which he always remembered fondly. 

The University thanks Professor Barker's son Jonathan for sharing his father's story. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.