11 : Walter Mitchell – Vicar of St Barnabas 1917-1926
Rev Walter Mitchell was born in Yorkshire around 1877, the eldest son of Rev Jonathan Mitchell, Vicar of Gateshead Fell, Durham. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, graduating in 1907. He was a considerable athlete and gained a half-blue at the ‘Varsity sports’. He was ordained Deacon in 1908 and priest in 1909. He served at Gateshead, St Luke’s Holloway, St Stephen’s West Ealing and Gospel Oak. Then he was sent to take charge of the temporary church of St Barnabas (the ‘Tin Church’) around 1911. He was described as having ‘indomitable energy’, and was said to be largely responsible for the building of the definitive St Barnabas church. His wife, Katharine Elizabeth (Betty) also came from Yorkshire and was a remarkably versatile lady, who had written 10 published hymns, and had interests in poetry, painting and amateur theatricals, and was described as a forceful character. She was a talented artist and acquired some of the church’s paintings, and she is thought to have made the St Barnabas banner. They lived at 16, Queens Walk. She died in May 1924 after a very short illness, and her husband also died less than two years later in February 1926, at the age of 48, after collapsing at home. He left one daughter, Miss Ruth Mitchell. He was buried at St John’s, Gateshead Fell. At his memorial service at St Barnabas, the Bishop of Kensington declared that St Barnabas would always be associated with the name of Walter Mitchell.
A memorial to Walter Mitchell, in the form of a stone sculpture of St Barnabas over the door of the church, was designed by Ernest Shearman and dedicated in June 1927.