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

Early life

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]

Storm Barker who is a distant relative to Sara Barker lives in New Zealand and the family name Barker still stands strong as her family has grown into several generations in the Barker family.


  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 byLeonard Williams Labour Party Assistant National Agent 1951–1960 Succeeded byReg Underhill Preceded byMary Sutherland Labour Party Chief Women's Officer 1960–1962 Succeeded byConstance Kay Preceded byLen Williams Labour Party National Agent 1962–1969 Succeeded byRon Hayward