Profile of Sir Hugh Springer, Barbados Pocket Guide

Sir Hugh Springer (1913 - 1994)

Having achieved a 1931 Barbados Scholarship in Classics from Harrisons College, Springer went on to Hertford College in Oxford where he attained his BA in 1936. In 1944 he studied law at the Inner Temple in London where he then added his MA degree to his achievements.

A year after the 1937 riots in Barbados, Springer returned home after being called to the Bar at the Inner Temple. On his return, he was geared towards his sure-footed vision of creating the Progressive League of which he was General Secretary. Along with the Progressive League he was also able to form the Barbados Workers’ Union which he manned as its first General Secretary. A position he held from 1940 until 1947.

In 1940, Springer was elected to the House of Assembly where he played an integral role in the Barbados Labour Party’s success at the 1946 general elections. After Oxford, he made a decision to pursue teaching at one of the best known firms of educational consultants and tutorial colleges in London. This was met with great candor and disapproval as it was made clear to him that based on his complexion, he was not in any position to hold the post of teacher. So intact was his dignity that he held nothing against them but on the contrary, thanked them for their time

In 1938, shortly after Springer had returned to Barbados, the Principal of Codrington College died. Springer was now able to take over the teaching of Classics until next-in-line was found.

In 1944, he was elected member of the Executive Committee and in 1946, in a Barbados Progressive League-Congress Party coalition, led by Mr. Adams as the first Premier in the annals of the colony, Springer held responsibility for Education, Legal Departments, Agriculture and Fisheries.

In 1947, he resigned from the League and Union to take up the post of Registrar of the University College of the West Indies, at Mona in Jamaica.

1962 to 1963 he became Senior Visiting Fellow at All Souls College and was elected an Honorary Fellow in 1988. On his return to the University of the West Indies he took up the post of Director of the Institute of Education.

From 1966 until 1970 he served as Assistant Secretary - General (Education) at the Commonwealth Secretariat. This role enabled him to play an integral part in the development of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Programme.

From 1970 until 1980 he served as Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

In 1978 he also served as Director of the United World College.

Sir Deighton Ward, the Governor-General of Barbados, died in office in 1984. Soon after, Springer was knighted and appointed to take up the post as Barbados’ newest Governor General.

In 1990 due to his failing health, Sir Hugh was forced to retire and subsequently died in 1994.

Remembered for his integrity, serenity and vast knowledge of world affairs, Sir Hugh Springer’s memory will be forever etched in the minds of Barbadians.


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