Sir Hugh Worrell Springer 1913 – 1994 was the 3rd native Governor General of Barbados following Independence in 1966. Springer served as Governor General for 6 consecutive years between 1984 and June of 1990.
Springer studied at the prestigious Harrison College where years later, he was awarded the 1931 Barbados Scholar in Classics. An avid academic, Springer went on to obtain a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters degree from Hertford College in Oxford. Upon leaving Oxford, Springer studied law at London’s Inner Temple. He was called to the Bar in 1938.
Springer returned to Barbados shortly after the riots of 1937. He set his talents under the leadership of Grantley Adams. Together, they helped form the Barbados Progressive League. Under the Barbados Progressive League, Springer won a seat in the 1940 General Elections representing St. George.
A visionary and a driving political force, Springer reorganized the Progressive League into the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and Barbados Worker’s Union (BWU). The BWU was the first organized labour union on the island.
Springer had a varied and accomplished political career. Over the years, Springer held a number of high ranking positions including:
— Member of the House of Assembly
— General Secretary of the BLP
— Acting Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Barbados
— Director of the Commonwealth Education Liaison Unit
— Commonwealth Assistant Secretary General
— Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities
An accomplished administer, Springer acted as organizer and 1st General Secretary of the Progressive League between 1940 and 1947. During this time, he created an economic section which was eventually registered as the Barbados Workers Union (BWU).
In 1944, Springer was appointed as a member of the Executive Committee. Described as an “organizing genius”, Springer is often regarded as one of the driving forces behind the advancement of the Barbados’ labour union movement.
In 1946 under the leadership of Grantley Adams – 1st Premier of the colony of Barbados – Springer held responsibility for the Education, Legal, Agriculture and Fisheries Departments in the Barbados Progressive League-Congress Party coalition government.
Springer later left Barbados to take on the role of Registrar at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
While an accomplished public servant and administer, Springer was also a published academic. After winning the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship as well as a Fellowship from the Harvard Centre for International Affairs, Springer applied his talents to the writing of his book Reflections on the Failure of the First West Indian Federation (1962).
Springer’s writing have also appeared in many regional and international publications including “Caribbean Quarterly“, “Pelican Annual“, “Torch“, “RSA Journal“ and “University Quarterly“.
Springer was honoured as Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George and Knight of Saint Andrew when he became Governor General of Barbados in 1984. He held this position until his retirement in 1990.
Born in 1913, Springer died on April 14th, 1994. Sir Hugh Worrell Springer was married to Dorothy ‘Dolly’ nee Gittens. They had 3 sons and a daughter.
In 1998, Springer was named one of Barbados’ 10 National Heroes thus taking on the title of Right Excellent.
Author: Brett Callaghan