Between 1944 and 1956 Barry – affectionately known as Baldy – was at Norwich High School for Boys, Langley. He took A-Levels in Maths, Physics, and Chemistry, and forged a career based on the latter.
Did you know what career you wanted to follow when you were at Langley?
Yes, I wanted to work in an industrial laboratory but after a while I found it boring and switched to a commercial role in marketing before finding my real niche in sales, which I enjoyed right up to retirement.
Which extra-curricular activities were you involved in at Langley?
CCF – I was Staff sergeant in the army signals section (there’s a funny story about how I achieved that distinction).
Hockey – my best sport although I was never a sporty type.
Rugby – I wasn’t very good but enjoyed the camaraderie and have been involved in helping to run rugby clubs since my early 20s right up to the present day.
‘Langley provides beautiful surroundings and plenty of space to develop.’
How were these extra activities useful within your career?
They gave me an ability to mix with other people and to take responsibility, which was invaluable in my career.
How did your career begin?
I joined Mackintosh’s in Norwich working on raw materials analysis in the laboratory before joining Shell Chemicals to work in a laboratory developing paint formulations and latterly in the early days of developing polyurethane foams.
Where are you now in your career and what have been the highlights?
I have been retired for 27 years from my final position as Key Accounts Manager for Higher Olefins Derivatives (mainly detergent chemicals) for Shell Chemicals working on a European basis.
On reflection, did your time at Langley School help inform your career choices and your attitude to your career progression?
Yes I enjoyed Chemistry at school and made a career in the chemicals industry.
What advice would you give to those considering Langley, their A Levels and career choices?
Langley provides beautiful surroundings and plenty of space to develop. Make the most of your friendships, which in my case have lasted a lifetime. Whatever you do choose A-Levels that will give you the chance to do a job that you will enjoy but don’t be afraid to make changes to your chosen path should you find that your original idea does not live up to expectations. Finally, don’t lose touch with your school friends when you leave school.