Christian Barman, 1898 - 1980
Simple name : Person: staff
Collection : People
Reference number : 2001/9599
Christian Augustus Barman
Preferred name :
Christian Augustus Barman was born in Antwerp on 13 September 1898. The son of a sailor, Thomas Gustav, Christian and his family moved to the Wirral after the outbreak of World War One. The family was later to take US citizenship and Christian retained this until he became a naturalised British citizen in 1931. Christian took the surname 'Barman' from the name of the island in which his father had grown up, Barmen.
Christian studied architecture at the Liverpool University from 1916, after which he had a short spell working in the offices of Sir Edwin Lutyens. He then went on to work as a freelance architect and was editor of several architectural journals, such as 'Architecture', 'Architectural Press', 'Architects Journal' and 'Architectural Review' (AR). During this period one of his best known commissions was the Oratory School extension at Chelsea. He also designed products for HMV, helping to launch their Household Appliances Department with his successful convection heater and controlled heat iron.
It was through his work for the AR that Barman met Frank Pick. On 1 April 1935 Barman began working for Pick as the LPTB's Publicity Officer. The Publicity Department had a wide remit which included posters, timetables, booklets, leaflets, press advertisements, signs, notices, bus shelters, bus stops, seats and litter bins. As an artist and designer himself Barman was sympathetic to the needs of the artists he commissioned and he often worked as an intermediary between the artists and Pick. It was in this role that he commissioned up-and-coming artists such as Enid Marx to design seating moquette for the 1938 stock.
In 1941 Barman left the LPTB and became the Assistant Director of the Directorate of post-war building. After World War Two he became the GWR's Assistant Chief Public Relations Officer and after the nationalisation of the railways in 1948, Barman was the British Transport Commission's Chief Publicity Officer. It was in this capacity that he set up the Design Panel in 1956, which was principally concerned with the design of locomotives.
In 1963 Barman was awarded the OBE in recognition for his work in the field of Transport. He commented that it was a 'corporate award, an award for everyone who was involved' (Paget, 1988, 49). This was typical of his self-effacing attitude.
Barman also wrote several non-fiction works including a biography of Frank Pick 'The Man Who Built London Transport', and one novel 'Ramping Cat' (1941).
Date of birth :
Place of birth :
Date of death :
- Publicity Officer at LPTB : 1935-1941