The Barlows are a family who have lived in Coronation Street, Weatherfield since 1938. Since newlyweds Frank and Ida Barlow moved into No.3 that year, four generations of the family have resided in the Street, with their son Ken being its longest-standing representative. Ken was born in the Street and grew up there with his brother David. His life has seen him marry four times, become a widower twice and a father to twins, an illigimate son and an adopted daughter, although he did not actually raise any of his children himself. Most of the Barlows' troubles have concerned Ken's disappointment over the way his life has turned out, with Ken having failed to realise the ambitions of his youth, and his attempts to either rectify his mistakes or interfere with his own children's decisions, however unwanted his help may be.
Current Barlow family members include Ken and wife Deirdre at No.1, Ken's son Peter, owner of Barlow's Bookies in Rosamund Street, who lives at 9a Rosamund Street with son Simon and Leanne Battersby, Deirdre's daughter Tracy, who is serving a life sentence for murder, with her daughter Amy being looked after by Amy's dad Steve McDonald at the Rovers Return Inn, and Ken's grandson Adam Barlow, who lives in Portsmouth. Adam's mother was Ken's daughter Susan, who died in 2001.
The Barlow line can be traced back to Sidney Barlow, a postman at the Weatherfield GPO in the early 1900s. He and his wife Edna lived at 6 Mawdsley Street and raised their children Frank and Marjorie there.
Sidney's death in 1931 led Edna to have a severe nervous breakdown, which resulted in Frank leaving the Navy to support her and Marj. Edna spent several years in a psychiatric hospital but she recovered in time to see Frank marry Ida Leathers in 1938.
Frank, Ida and familyEdit
Since his return from the Navy, Frank had taken up his father's job at the GPO and Marj worked at Earnshaw's Mill, the family managing to stay in work during the Depression while many of their neighbours struggled to put food on the table. Frank and Ida rented 3 Coronation Street after marrying and their son Kenneth was born there in 1939, a month after Frank's return to the Navy at the onset of World War II. Until 1945, Frank only returned when he had leave, and their second child David was born in 1942, conceived during a brief return to Weatherfield. Frank's return after the war was a great relief to Ida.
In the years that followed, Frank continued with his work at the GPO and Ida got a job as a cleaner at the Imperial Hotel. As he grew up, Kenneth showed an interest in reading and was the first Coronation Street resident to pass his 11-plus and enter grammar school. He later went on to study teaching History and English at the University of Manchester, although Frank was slightly embittered by the fact that Ken hadn't followed in his footsteps and had every intention of leaving the Street - and his working class roots - far behind.
David, meanwhile, followed a very different career path. He started his working life by taking an engineering apprenticeship but left the trade to become a footballer, which interested him much more. After a short time playing for Weatherfield County FC he was transferred to a London team and moved there.
In September 1961, Ida was hit by a bus while returning from work. Ken supported Frank, who struggled to cope without Ida. Ken lived at No.3 until the following August when he married Valerie Tatlock, niece of neighbour Albert Tatlock, and bought No.9 in the same Street. Frank lived in the house until 1964 when he won £5,000 on Premium Bonds and moved to a detached house in Cheshire. As a result of his differences with Ken, which had resulted in several fall-outs, Frank barely had contact with his sons until his death in 1975.
David, Irma and DarrenEdit
David Barlow returned to Weatherfield in 1965 when he took a break from football due to injury. He pursued Irma Ogden and popped the question during a trip to the Blue John Mines. They married later in the year but their hopes of an affluent future were dashed when a further injury on the field meant David wouldn't be able to play again. At Irma's urging, David bought the Corner Shop, overcoming his belief that they were too good to live in Coronation Street. They had a happy marriage but neither saw the shop as a long-term investment; Irma was bored working behind a counter and David hoped that he could eventually return to football.
In 1968, David decided that he had recovered from his injury and signed up for an Australian team. The couple emigrated and were delighted when after several years of trying to conceive, Irma gave birth to son Darren. Their new life was cut short the following year when David and Darren were killed in a car crash, and grieving Irma returned to her native England.
The life and loves of Ken BarlowEdit
Ken fell for Valerie soon after meeting her in 1961, but Val only agreed to marry Ken when he convinced her that he wasn't just looking for someone to cook his meals. During the marriage, however, Val's role did mostly consist of cooking, cleaning and looking after Ken and their children, although before the twins were born she briefly operated a salon in No.3's front room. A teacher at Bessie Street School and later Granston Technical College, Ken enjoyed spending time with his colleagues and often neglected Val in their favour, as she was not as knowledged about many of the topics which interested him. Although Ken loved Val, he occasionally took her for granted and flirted with other women. When twins Peter and Susan were born in 1965, Valerie took on the role of full-time mother. When Val was killed in a house accident in 1971, a day before the Barlows were due to emigrate to Jamaica where Ken had taken a prominent teaching job, Ken couldn't cope with raising the twins by himself and sent them to live with Val's mother Edith in Glasgow, intending for them to return to Weatherfield when he had found a stepmother for them.
During the 1970s, Ken saw little of his children as he led the life of a bachelor. He eloped with secretary Janet Reid but was alarmed when she refused to be a mother to his children. Ken and Janet never saw eye to eye and split in 1974, only a few months after marrying. They stayed married until 1977 when Janet showed up at Ken's door, begging for a reconciliation. Ken refused but allowed her to stay for one night. During the night, Janet took an overdose and died.
By the late 1970s, Ken was working as Community Development Officer at the Community Centre, having resigned himself to a life in Weatherfield. Peter and Susan made fleeting visits to see him but after several years in Glasgow they were not interested in moving to Weatherfield. In 1979, Ken started seeing Deirdre Langton, a separated single mother who was sixteen years his junior, and they married in 1981. Ken had been living with Val's Uncle Albert and taking care of him in his old age. Deirdre and her daughter Tracy moved into No.1, where Ken had been living with Albert since 1976. Ken and Deirdre's marriage sometimes suffered from similar problems to his first marriage; they had little in common other than a mutual affection for each other, with the added disadvantage of the age gap. They quickly settled into a routine which bored Deirdre, who thought Ken was passionless and unambitious. Deirdre's feelings led her to have an affair with Mike Baldwin, a local businessman who to Deirdre was the antithesis of Ken. The affair lasted for several months and when Deirdre confessed to Ken, Ken threw her out, although as neither of them wanted to split up they quickly decided to reconcile and work on their relationship. In 1986, Ken adopted Tracy, who did not see her own father Ray Langton and looked upon Ken as her father.
Although they had decided to stay together, Ken and Deirdre's marriage was never a strong as it was pre-Baldwin and in 1989 Ken eagerly began an affair with secretary Wendy Crozier, although he regretted his foolishness when in 1990 Deirdre, who had found out about the affair, threw him out of No.1 and he lost his job as editor of the free newspaper Weatherfield Recorder when he had to sell the paper to pay No.1's mortgage. Ken and Deirdre led separate lives for several years, divorcing in 1991.
In 1994, Ken dated hairdresser Denise Osbourne and was stunned when she told him she was pregnant. Baby Daniel was born in 1995, thirty years after Peter and Susan had been born. Ken was determined to be a proper father to Daniel but Denise rejected his help and refused his offer of marriage. She relented after some persuasion by Ken, and the family lived together for a time at No.1, which had since been vacated by Deirdre and Tracy. The arrangement lasted until 1996 when Denise left Ken for her lover Brian Dunkley, leaving Daniel with Ken. Ken was not fazed by the prospect of raising Daniel by himself but when Denise returned to take Daniel away Ken was forced to give Daniel up as he was not legally registered as his son's father on the birth certificate.
In 1999, Ken and Deirdre reconciled, although for several years they were wary of marrying again. They finally tied the knot in 2005, with Ken retiring around the same time. They lived together at No.1 with Deirdre's mother Blanche Hunt, an arrangement which continues as of 2010.
In September 2010 Ken discovered he had a son Lawrence from first girlfriend Susan Cunningham. The discovery came when neighbours Emily Bishop and Norris Cole found a letter addressed to Ken from Susan back in 1961 behind a skirting board from no3 Coronation Street (Ken's original family home). He reunited with Lawrence and also his grandson he didn't know about, James, who was gay. Lawrence also had a daughter, Chloe, who was at college.
Susan, Mike and AdamEdit
Ken's daughter Susan was raised in Glasgow after Val's death. After working in London for a short time as a barmaid, Susan moved to Newcastle, where she lived until 1985, after which time she returned to her native Weatherfield and began seeing Mike Baldwin. She was unaware that her stepmother Deirdre had had an affair with Mike and for that reason Ken was against the relationship, going as far as to take underhanded measures to sabotage it. Ken's objections only brought Susan and Mike closer together, despite the age difference between them, and led to them marrying in 1986. In 1987, Susan found herself pregnant, but wanted to have an abortion. Mike was led to believe that she had had an abortion against his wishes and fled but in 2001 he learned that Susan had given birth to a son, Adam, and kept his existence a secret from him. Fearing that Mike would want to see Adam, Susan decided to move to London but was killed in a car crash en route. Mike fought Ken and Deirdre for custody of Adam, with Mike eventually winning, although Mike soon sent him to a boarding school in Glasgow.
Adam returned to Weatherfield after leaving school and turned down the chance to enter University in favour of helping Mike manage his lingerie factory Underworld, although he didn't get along with Mike's other son Danny Baldwin. In 2006, Mike died from pneumonia, having spent the last few months of his life suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Adam was able to secure a 40% share of the factory, but quickly got bored of the workload and sold his share to Liam Connor. In 2007, he took a job in Portsmouth and moved there with Peter.
Tracy and AmyEdit
Following Ken and Deirdre's divorce, Tracy became resentful of Deirdre and henceforth they never shared a close, trusting relationship. Tracy moved out of No.1 to live with her boyfriend Craig Lee in 1993 and was indifferent to Deirdre's marriage to Samir Rachid. When Tracy collapsed after taking ecstasy at a club, her kidneys failed and Samir agreed to a transplant. On the way to the hospital for the operation, however, Samir was beaten up by thugs and died, although his kidney was still used to save Tracy's life. The incident deepened the rift between Deirdre and Tracy and caused Tracy to move to London.
In 1997 Tracy married Robert Preston but she left him and returned to Weatherfield in 2002, whereupon she dumped herself on Ken and Deirdre at No.1. The following year, to win a bet Tracy drugged Roy Cropper and upon waking up in bed with him the next morning pretended they had slept together. Around the same time, she slept with Steve McDonald while he was separated from his wife Karen, and she soon found herself pregnant. Although Steve was the father, Tracy told Roy that he was the father. Roy had a breakdown due to the guilt of believing he had betrayed Hayley and almost killed himself. Tracy offered to give her baby to Roy and his wife Hayley, as she knew the Croppers couldn't conceive as Hayley was a transsexual, but she took advantage of them by demanding money in exchange for not having an abortion. She also reluctantly agreed to marry Roy so make sure he had a legal right to the baby. Tracy told Steve the truth on Christmas Day 2003 and gave birth in February the following year. Although she initially fulfilled her obligation to the Croppers, she had a change of heart and interrupted Steve's wedding to Karen and told Karen about baby Amy's parentage. The Croppers returned Amy to Tracy and Tracy spent the next year trying to drive a wedge between Steve and Karen, who had married despite Tracy's actions. At Christmas, Steve and Karen separated, and although Steve did briefly date Tracy, he was only using her so that he could persuade her to put his name on Amy's birth certificate so that would have legal rights to his daughter. He was eventually successful.
In 2006 Tracy moved in with builder Charlie Stubbs, and with some difficulty persuaded him to allow Amy to come along. The following year, Tracy murdered Charlie as revenge for cheating on her with Maria Sutherland, although she planned to get away with by claiming it was self-defense. Her scheme failed and she was given a life sentence for murder. Steve took custody of Amy and looked after her at his pub, the Rovers. Amy did not learn what her mother had done until 2009 when Steve's partner Becky Granger told her, believing that she should know the truth.
Peter and SimonEdit
Peter followed his granddad Frank and served in the Navy from 1980 to 2000. He was married to Jessica Midgeley but they divorced in 2000, and after leaving the Navy Peter arrived in Weatherfield, intending to stay permanently. He bought the bookies in Rosamund Street and ran the business with some success.
In 2002, Peter was having an on/off relationship with barmaid Shelley Unwin when he met florist Lucy Richards. He ended up dating both women at the same time, but as his relationship with Shelley became serious he split up with Lucy. When he later learned that Lucy was pregnant with his baby, he got back together with Lucy and married her, but found himself unable to tell Shelley and ended up marrying her too, while trying to keep the two women from finding about the other relationship. Inevitably, he was found out and lost both women as well as his son Simon, but as he had already married Shelley bigamously he was arrested and fined. Lucy left with Simon for a new life in Australia.
Peter returned to Weatherfield in 2008 when Lucy died from breast cancer and asked in her will that Peter take care of Simon. Peter was initially unhappy with the situation but bought the Bookies with the money Lucy had left him and moved into the flat 9a Rosamund Street. Peter turned to drink in desperation but kicked the habit after nearly burning down the bookies while drunk. For many months Peter stayed sober and became involved in a serious relationship with Leanne Battersby. In 2009, Peter met Lucy's father George Wilson, who wanted to meet Simon. For a few months, George supported Peter and Leanne in their efforts to open a bar in Viaduct Street but when Peter fell off the wagon George and his wife Eve took Simon off Peter's hands and paid for him to enter rehab. When Peter left rehab early, George refused to return Simon to his care and was granted a temporary custody order. On a day trip to Blackpool with George and Eve, Simon ran off, instigating a police search for the boy. Simon soon turned up in Weatherfield after making his way home by himself. George decided to drop the appeal for custody.
- 19th October 1913 - Frank Barlow
- 16th December 1916 - Ida Leathers
- 9th October 1939 - Kenneth Barlow
- 16th February 1942 - Mike Baldwin
- 6th May 1942 - Janet Reid
- 4th July 1942 - David Barlow
- 26th November 1942 - Valerie Tatlock
- 28th September 1946 - Irma Ogden
- 8th July 1955 - Deirdre Hunt
- August 1961 - Lawrence Cunningham
- 5th April 1965 - Peter and Susan Barlow
- 20th November 1968 - Darren Barlow
- 24th January 1977 - Tracy Langton
- 3rd May 1988 - Adam Barlow
- 4th January 1995 - Daniel Osbourne
- 6th July 2003 - Simon Barlow
- 9th February 2004 - Amy Barlow (Initially called Patience Cropper)
- 1st May 1938 - Frank Barlow and Ida Leathers
- 4th August 1962 - Kenneth Barlow and Valerie Tatlock
- 8th December 1965 - David Barlow and Irma Ogden
- 29th October 1973 - Ken Barlow and Janet Reid
- 27th July 1981 - Ken Barlow and Deirdre Langton
- 14th May 1986 - Susan Barlow and Mike Baldwin
- 8th August 1990 - Peter Barlow and Jessica Midgeley
- 13th November 1996 - Tracy Barlow and Robert Preston
- 24th March 2003 - Peter Barlow and Lucy Richards
- 20th July 2003 - Peter Barlow and Shelley Unwin (Bigamous)
- 8th April 2005 - Ken Barlow and Deirdre Rachid (Second marriage)
- 6th December 2010 - Peter Barlow and Leanne Battersby
- 23rd January 2011 - Tracy Barlow and Steve McDonald
- 11th September 1961 - Ida Barlow
- 8th April 1970 - David Barlow
- 9th April 1970 - Darren Barlow
- 27th January 1971 - Valerie Barlow
- 21st April 1975 - Frank Barlow
- 21st February 1977 - Janet Barlow
- 11th February 2001 - Susan Barlow
- 7th April 2006 - Mike Baldwin
- 2nd October 2008 - Lucy Barlow