Three observational data sets are used to construct a continuous record (1850-2001) of April ice edge position in the Barents Sea: two sets of Norwegian ice charts (one from 1850 to 1949 and the other from 1966 to 2001) and Soviet aircraft reconnaissance ice extent charts from 1950 to 1966. The 152-year April ice extent series is subdivided into three sub-periods: 1850-1899, 1900-1949 and 1950-2001. For each of these study sub-periods, a mean April ice edge and a set of anomalies (differences in position between a given April and the mean April ice edge) are computed. The calculations show the mean ice edge position retreated north-eastward over the 152-year period, with the greater retreat seen in the changes from the 1850-1899 sub-period to the 1900-1949 sub-period. The distribution of the standard deviation of the ice edge anomaly over the linear distance along the mean ice edge shows no substantial difference between any of the three periods of the study. Within each study period, the maximum variation is observed in the sector bounded by the 25°E and 49° E meridians, which covers the main pathway of the warmer water flow from the Norwegian Sea.