50 years reign and counting!

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Bob Oakes’ career with Barbers as a Rural Surveyor.

Bob joined the firm on 11th October 1971 and has been a linchpin and formidable character within the company ever since. 

Bob’s initial career choice led him to enrol at St Guys Hospital to study Dentistry. Fortunately for us  Bob is a country lover at heart and, after second thoughts, redirected to study Estate Management at The Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester which led to his career as a Chartered Surveyor.

He moved to Shropshire and started his career with Barbers at just 23 years of age, initially working in the Dawley office.  In 1972 he moved to Market Drayton and it was here that he really made his name in capital grant schemes designing farm buildings and securing the relevant grants for his farmer clients.

He began his career as an Auctioneer in 1972 in Wellington market and for many years was a familiar face on the rostrum, only retiring from selling within the last 10 years having been instrumental in the dramatic growth and success of Barbers Auctions as Chairman. Back in the 1990’s Bob was also chairman of Shrewsbury livestock market.

As Barbers continued to grow in success, Bob relocated to Newport to open the Barbers office there but not everyone was so keen to move - Bob’s secretary at the time refused to move to the new office with him. As it was before emails Bob had to drive his secretarial work back to Wellington for her to process!

In 1972 Bob became an auctioneer seen here at Wellington.

We asked Bob’s colleagues at Barbers Rural for their memories and what they have learnt from him over the years. 

Mike Taylor – Senior Partner

In my first winter with Barbers in 1985 I remember one Monday at Wellington Market when my dog Hector, a black and white spaniel, chewed Bob’s expensive suede brogues. Bob was not amused, and I was banned from taking my dog to the market. In spite of this sticky start Bob and I have worked together closely ever since.

Bob and Mike
Bob and Mike Taylor.













Annabel Fearnall – Partner

Bob’s years of experience generally mean that he has ‘seen it all before’ and it is invaluable having him as a sounding post for any situation. Invariably he has dealt with similar issues and can point you in the right direction. His memory for the intricacies of deals he has done always amazes me, he can remember which year he did a deal and can generally remember what price he sold it at as well.


Dan Bowden – Partner

Over the years Bob has been instrumental in teaching me the dark arts of surveying and negotiating. He is someone that has moved with the times and changes that have occurred throughout his working career. Here’s to the next the 50 years!


Harriet Jones – Rural Surveyor

From the first day I met Bob I have always described him as a walking encyclopaedia of the area. When we are in the car going to appointments he always has a story to tell about most properties we pass in Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire! His wealth of knowledge is invaluable in this job and he has imparted wisdom in both my personal and professional life.

Bob & Di
Bob with his wife Diana.

Louise Taylor – Managing Partner

Having known Bob now for well over 30 years I can honestly say that he hasn’t changed a bit!  His cheeky sense of humour and fondness for playful banter has lightened many a difficult situation over the years and he is a pleasure to work with 

Bob is always ready to offer advice and use the benefit of his extensive knowledge and experience to help the team and he knows just about everybody in the local farming area.  His working life with Barbers spans nearly my lifetime and I never cease to enjoy listening to stories about when he set out on his professional journey.  So much has changed and I take my hat off to him for embracing technology – it can’t have been easy when he started with a quill! 

Bob and team
Bob and the Barbers Rural team today.  

Bob is still an active member of the team and shows no sign of ending his illustrious career and the Barbers Rural team are looking forward to many more years of working with him. If you wish to contact him and take advantage of his extensive knowledge please call 01630 692500 or email b.oakes@barbers-rural.co.uk




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