John Barrow was born on Upper Grosvenor Street, on 28 June 1808, son of Sir John Barrow and his wife Anna Maria Barrow. When he was born his father was not yet knighted, but was John Barrow, Esq., the second secretary to the Admiralty.
John Barrow (junior) was educated at Charterhouse, and entered the Admiralty as a clerk in 1824 through the influence of John Wilson Croker. He became the Head of The Admiralty Record Office in 1844. He was the only civilian member of the Arctic council (which was established by him in 1851) to co-ordinate the search for the missing explorer Admiral Sir John Franklin.
He was an archivist to the Admiralty. He published a biography of Sir Francis Drake in 1843 and of Sir William Sidney Smith in 2 Volumes in 1848. He was fascinated with the North, and having been introduced to varying cultures and travel through his father, had a keen interest in learning more and imparting his knowledge, which he did through travelogues. Two travel narratives on his experiences in Norway and Iceland, see him comparing their heritage, attempting to take a more objective approach than previous writers of the genre, and challenging the views and approach of travelogues written in the previous century.
Barrow retired in 1855; he subsequently took an active interest in the militia. Barrow was also a founder member of the Alpine Club in 1857. His experiences in mountain climbing were the foundation of several books on mountaineering, one being "Mountain Ascents in Westmoreland and Cumberland" 1886.
Barrow as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Paddington Rifles. The Paddington Rifles was formed in 1860 as the 36th Middlesex (Paddington) Volunteer Rifle Corps, and became the 18th Middlesex Volunteer Rifle Corps (as 4th Volunteer Battalion, The Rifle Brigade) in 1879, although it was still widely known as the Paddington Rifles.
John Barrow died on 9 December 1898, at the age of 90, at Monte Rosa, Kingham, near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, and was buried at Kensal Green cemetery.
Mention of Birth - The Naval Chronicle: Volume 20, July-December 1808: Containing a ..., Volume 20 edited by James Stanier Clarke, John McArthur, "Naval History of the Present Year 1808" page 79. 
FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Original data: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. Name: John Barrow; Estimated birth year: abt 1808; Registration Year: 1898; Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec; Age at Death: 90; Registration district: Chipping Norton
Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Find A Grave Index, 1300s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi. Name: John Barrow; Birth Date: 28 Jun 1808; Death Date: 9 Dec 1898; Cemetery: Kensal Green Cemetery; Burial or Cremation Place: Kensal Green, London Borough of Brent, Greater London, England; Has Bio?: Y; Father: John Barrow 
Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. Name: John Barrow; Death Date: 9 Dec 1898; Death Place: Oxfordshire, Oxford, England; Probate Date: 18 Feb 1899; Registry: London, England
J. M. R. Cameron, ‘Barrow, Sir John, first baronet (1764–1848)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2008 accessed 29 Dec 2016
National Portrait Gallery - St Martin's Place, London - John Barrow is a sitter in three portraits held 
National Army Museum London - portrait of Lt Col John Barrow 
National Archives - Barrow, John (1808-1898) Lieutenant Colonel. Collection includes 1864-1898 Personal diaries, MSS Eng hist d 18-81, held Oxford University: Bodleian Library, Special Collections; 1849-92: corresp rel to Franklin Relief Expeditions, Add MSS 35306-09, British Library, Manuscript Collections; 1849-56: letters to Jane Franklin, MS 248, Cambridge University: Scott Polar Research Institute; 1850-60: corresp with William Penny, MS 116; Cambridge University: Scott Polar Research Institute 
Icelandic Utopia in Victorian Travel Literature By Dimitrios Kassis