Barbara Bromley was the secretary of the managing director of a large engineering firm in Ashton. When Alan Howard had a garage there, Barbara had an account with him and after his move to Weatherfield they maintained correspondence. In March 1971, Alan accepted an offer of £25 from Barbara in exchange for selling her car and buying a new one. Alan had several clandestine meetings with Barbara, collecting her in his car, but Elsie's suspicions were aroused when Albert Tatlock complained to her that he'd seen Alan in a car driven by a mystery woman which had nearly run him over. Alan told Elsie that he was working overtime at the Canal Garage, but his cover was blown when Billy Walker denied this. A few days later, Alan slipped out of work to conclude the deal, but was delayed getting back, in which time Barbara turned up at the garage to give him the cheque. Suspecting that Alan was playing away, Billy questioned Barbara and, deciding to stop playing Alan's game, she told Billy the truth about their deal. With the cheque in his hand, Alan then told Elsie what had really been going on, putting his secrecy down to the chance the deal would fall through and Elsie would end up disappointed.