Ken deirdre wedding2

Ken and Deirdre marry for the second time, 2005

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 three times and a father to twins, two illegitimate sons 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.

Tragedy has followed the Barlows since the 1960s; road accidents have claimed the lives of Ida, David, Darren and Susan, and Valerie, Janet and Lucy all died young.

Current Barlow family members include Ken, son Peter and grandson Simon at No.1, adoptive daughter Tracy and granddaughter Amy at 15a Victoria Street, other son Daniel - along with grandson Adam at No.15a, Ken's wife Deirdre passed away in July 2015 while staying with friend Bev Unwin - the cause of death was attributed to a brain aneurysm. Adam's mother was Ken's daughter Susan, who died in 2001.

Family tree

George Leathers
Nancy Leathers
Sidney Barlow
Edna Barlow
Cunningham family
Tatlock family
Ida Leathers
Frank Barlow
Marjorie Barlow
Osbourne family
Ogden family
Susan Cunningham
Baldwin family
Valerie Tatlock
Kenneth Barlow
Janet Reid
Deirdre Langton
Denise Osbourne
David Barlow
Irma Ogden
McDonald family
Lawrence Cunningham
Mike Baldwin
Susan Barlow
Shelley Unwin
Lucy Richards
Jessica Midgeley
Peter Barlow
Leanne Battersby
Carla Connor
Jacqui Ainsworth
Daniel Osbourne
Sinead Tinker
Robert Preston
Tracy Barlow
Roy Cropper
Steve McDonald
Darren Barlow
James Cunningham
Chloe Cunningham
Adam Barlow
Sarah Platt
Simon Barlow
Stillborn son
Bertie Osbourne
Amy Barlow

Family history

Barlows 1960

The Barlow family in 1960. From left: David, Frank, Kenneth and Ida

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 Marjorie. Edna spent some months in a psychiatric hospital but she recovered and saw Frank marry Ida Leathers in 1938.

Frank, Ida and family

Since his return from the Navy, Frank had taken up a 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 Manchester University, 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 No.3 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 Darren

David irma bed

David and Irma

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 two years later when David and Darren were killed in a car crash, and grieving Irma returned to her native England.

The life and loves of Ken Barlow

Ken and wives

Ken with each of his wives - Valerie (left), Janet (middle), and Deirdre (right)

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.9'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 knowledgeable 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 separated in 1974, only a few months after marrying. They remained married until 1977 when Janet turned up on Ken's doorstep begging for a reconciliation. Ken refused but allowed her to stay for the night. During the night, Janet took an overdose and died.

Ken deirdre

Ken and Deirdre in the early 1980s

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, he 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 knew very little of 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 as 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 Deidre divorced in 1991.

Ken denise 1996

Ken and Denise with baby Daniel, during their brief time as a happy family

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 registered as the father on Daniel's 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, who died in 2010.

In September 2010, Ken discovered he had a son, Lawrence, through his first girlfriend Susan Cunningham. The discovery came when neighbours Emily Bishop and Norris Cole found a letter dating from 1961 and addressed to Ken from Susan behind a skirting board at No.3 (Ken's original family home). He reunited with Lawrence and also his grandson James. Lawrence also had a daughter, Chloe, who was at college.

Ken found himself away from Deirdre for over a year from July 2013 to August 2014 when he left for Canada to look after his grandson, Adam. Although the pair were reunited, Deirdre ended up leaving Weatherfield two months after his return as she needed a break from the stress of Peter's upcoming trial for the murder of Tina McIntyre. Ken visited Deirdre at Bev Unwin's house around Christmas, which would be the last time he would see her. Deirdre passed away on her 60th birthday in July 2015, the day she was due to return home.

Susan, Mike and Adam

Susan mike wedding

Susan marries Mike Baldwin, against Ken's wishes, 1986

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 they married 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 Amy

Tracy amy

Tracy with Amy

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 assaulted and killed, although his kidney was still used and saved 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 to ensure 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 he 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-defence. 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.

Tracy and Amy 2014

Double trouble.

In December 2010, Tracy was unexpectedly released from prison and reunited with Amy, and it didn't take her long to get her daughter back to herself when she blackmailed Steve after discovering that his wife Becky had "bought" nephew Max Turner. This was part of a scheme to win Steve back again and split him from Becky, similar to when he was married to Karen. Her plan succeeded when Steve had enough of Becky's trouble-making and he reconciled with Tracy. However they separated shortly after their wedding as Tracy was exposed as a liar when she blamed Becky for causing the death of her unborn twins.

After failed attempts at getting back with Steve and trying to destroy his relationship with Michelle Connor, Tracy set her sights on Rob Donovan and they got together, later opening Barlow's Buys, renting her brother Peter's failed bookmaker's shop.

In 2014, Amy began developing similar trouble-making traits to her mother. Growing jealous of Simon getting attention after his father Peter was locked up, she lied about their babysitters Sophie Webster and Maddie Heath threatening to slap her. Tracy took Amy's side and warned the pair to never "touch" Amy again. Amy later lied about Eccles biting her and Tracy tried to order Deirdre to put the dog down. However after a talk by her grandfather Ken, Amy eventually admitted the truth and stated that she felt left out.

When Rob was exposed for killing Tina McIntyre and subsequently imprisoned, both Tracy and Amy admitted to each other that they missed him, despite his bad deeds. Tracy was saddened in July 2015 when she heard that her mother Deirdre died while staying with friend Bev Unwin.

Peter and Simon

Peter simon

Peter with Simon

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 in 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.

Key dates




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