Hoxton Cafe Project
1963 - 1969
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· Dr Barrie Biven

Barrie is a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist who trained in London under Anna Freud. He was born in Leicestershire and was educated at the Alderman Newton Boy's School and the University of  Sussex.

In January 1962 after working on a farm, driving taxi cabs and lorries and a spell of beekeeping Barrie set off with a mountaineering friend, Tony Smythe, for Alaska. They drove across Canada and made two first ascents of peaks in the McKinley range. Barrie then hitchhiked

down the west coast of Canada and the USA sleeping rough and paying his way by washing cars and mopping out restaurants. Turning east he hitched across the southern states stopping in places that caught his attention. He was deeply moved by the generosity and interest of 

drivers who stopped to pick up a total stranger. This was probably one of the last times when thumbing a lift was considered safe for both the driver and the hiker.

 

On arrival in Washington DC a British Embassy official informed Barrie that he needed to return to the UK to complete his reserve training in the Cliff Assault Wing, Royal Marines Commando. Just outside of Washington he stayed with his former C.O., Major Mike

Banks, who was attending a course at the USMC barracks in Quantico.    Before returning to England Barrie then stayed in New York with a climbing friend, Christopher Wren, whose wife was involved in working with street gangs. These contacts were the inspiration for Barrie

deciding to train for work with young people.

 

Returning  to the UK Barrie enrolled in a course at the National College for the Training of Youth Leaders. It was while he was a student there that he saw the advertisement for the manager’s job at the Hoxton Cafe. Not wanting to lose out on this rare opportunity for

experimental youth work Barrie decided to leapfrog the normal application procedures. He immediately traveled down to London and arranged an ad hoc interview with the Chairman of the project, Dr Hyla Holden. Fortunately, he was successful. Barrie was the manager of

the cafe during the years 1964 and 1965. After working at the cafe Barrie began his university education by studying psychology at the University of Sussex.  In Brighton he 

founded a project aimed at researching and meeting the needs of itinerant adolescents. His course advisor at the university, Dr Josephine Klein eventually joined him as Co-Director on the project. It was also at this time that Barrie and his then girlfriend set up a small business making men’s neckties. Although he was not particularly inclined toward a vocation in business it did provide Barrie with sufficient funds to study in Sussex and later in London while training to be a psychoanalyst.

 

Back in London Barrie became a Consultant for the Young Volunteer Force Foundation (Founded by Anthony Steen M.P.); a Consultant for  Centrepoint (Directed by Nic Fenton);   a Lecturer for the London Boroughs Social Work Training Committee and supervisor for a number of youth work trainees.

 

After graduation from the Anna Freud Centre Barrie then worked at the  

centre as a member of the diagnostic team and at the Brent Consultation Centre with Dr Moses Laufer. In 1977 he and his wife Lucy, moved to America to join the faculty of the University of Michigan, where Barrie was Associate Director of the Child Analytic Study Program alongside Dr Humberto Nagera. Since that time he has been a Consultant to the Detroit Psychiatric Institute, the University of Capetown, and to the Instituto de Salud

Mental, Monterrey, Mexico.

 

He has worked extensively with young people in England who are held in Secure Units and require risk assessments and brief therapeutic interventions.  Barrie is now almost retired but retains some supervisory work in Mexico and a small private practice in England.

 

We regret Barrie Biven died after suffering from cancer on the 12th December 2016 at the age of 80.