Sara Barker

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Dame Sara Elizabeth Barker DBE (15 February 1904 – 19 September 1973) was a British political administrator, prominent in the Labour Party.

Early life[edit]

Born in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Barker's father was an Independent Labour Party activist and served a term as Mayor of Halifax. Barker studied at Halifax Technical College, and with the Workers Educational Association, and became active in the Labour Party. At the age of sixteen, she became the women's officer for the local branch of the party.[1]

In 1935, Barker was appointed as secretary and agent for the Halifax branch of the Labour Party, and she gradually rose to prominence, becoming the party's Yorkshire women's officer in 1942, assistant national agent in 1951, and Chief Women's Officer in 1960. In 1962, she became National Agent for the party, the first women to hold this post.[1]

In 1968, she served as Acting General Secretary, following the resignation of Len Williams, and until Harry Nicholas was appointed.[2]

She retired from her posts in 1969, and was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire the following year.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Dame Sara Elizabeth Barker profile, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; accessed 30 March 2014.
  2. ^ Lucy Middleton, Women in the Labour Movement: The British Experience, pp. 157, 203.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Leonard Williams
Labour Party Assistant National Agent
Succeeded by
Reg Underhill
Preceded by
Mary Sutherland
Labour Party Chief Women's Officer
Succeeded by
Constance Kay
Preceded by
Len Williams
Labour Party National Agent
Succeeded by
Ron Hayward