Barry the Gnome


Graham Laker has just informed me of the death of Barry, who was a very stylish character around Southsea in the Birdcage days. The Rod Stewart story is one of those great local legends. Here’s Graham:

“‘Barry the Gnome’ (Barry Atkins) passed away yesterday. He was one of the original Portsmouth beats before becoming a very stylish Mod. He bought me my first pint of beer in The Cambridge Public Bar (Brickwoods Mild 1/-4) in ’64. He taught Rod Stewart how to back-comb his hair and loved the music of Slim Harpo. I believe he had cancer of the eye among other things – very sad – a great, great original character.”


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

9 thoughts on “Barry the Gnome

  1. So another one goes!!!
    He was a real gentleman and an all round good bloke
    I know I spoke to him at one of the more recent funerals(John Fisher?)
    Could you possibly let us know when the funeral is ?

  2. Yes I saw him at John Fisher’s so probably there. I’ll do my best to find that out. He was one of that group of local style icons for me (as a younger guy) and many have gone – Barry Davies, Dave Arney and now Barry in particular.

  3. I just heard. Yet more sad news.
    I knew Barry Atkins, The Gnome, from very early on, and was delighted to see him, last year, I believe, when we celebrated the life of another departed old friend.
    I too would appreciate details of funeral, when available.

  4. Very nice to welcome you back Keith even under sad circumstances. I’ve sent out requests for further information

  5. Thank you, Dave. Yes, I am now back, more or less, permanently in the UK, I am pleased to say.

  6. Back in the early days i swopped I know not what,for a white Levi jean jacket ,of a cut and weight unknown in this time of austerity,not that I could get into one if there was.
    He also drew very good cartoon strips of various,invented characters,and wrote many delightful pieces of doggerel. Most of which are far too iun pc for this blog, and also not found under austerity. Great guy RIP.

  7. I was searching my memory box for the name and as soon as you mentioned John Fisher it all fell into place !! PGS days!!!
    As regards Jim’s posting, yes, there were certain Levi jackets that I could kill for now !!! The fawn suede one with a dark leather collar was my favourite .

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