Did you know that Camp Hill was once home to the inventor of the gas turbine John Barber?
Born in 1734 in Nottinghamshire, son of a coalmaster, John moved to Warwickshire in the 1760s to manage collieries in the Nuneaton area. One of those collieries was Haunchwood Colliery and he also had interests in coal mines in Nuneaton and Chilvers Coton. For a time he lived in ‘Camp Hill House’ (thought to be a former building on the site of the later Elizabeth style mansion Camp Hill Hall.) Later he moved to Attleborough where he died in 1793 or 1801.
John obtained his first patent in 1766. Further patents in 1773 and 1792 concerned smelting and another in 1776 related to an impulse steam turbine. His best known patent however was in 1791 and involved a gas turbine.
He was the first person to describe in detail the principle of the gas turbine. The overall concept was remarkable, given the early date, and noting the limited experience of coal gas production at the time.
John was regarded as a man of universal knowledge, a philosopher, an eminent mineralist, a great mechanic and a liberal benefactor; who expanded his ample fortune by benefitting mankind. His grave is at Moyash, near Buxton.