Horace Barks

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Horace Barks, OBE was Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent in 1951–2.[1]

Horace Barks
Born 1895
Ipstones, Staffordshire
Known for Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent

Barks was born in Ipstones in the countryside near Stoke-on-Trent and came from a working class background. His experiences in World War I left him with pacifist beliefs and experience of railway operations. After the war he became a train guard and, in 1921, a member of the Labour Party, the dominant party in Stoke-on-Trent during the twentieth century. He was elected a Stoke councillor in 1930 and made an Alderman in 1948. He served as Mayor for 1951–52.[2]

Barks' cultural interests included Esperanto and the writer Arnold Bennett. Barks and his son Guy were active in the Arnold Bennett Society, which is based in Stoke-on-Trent. The reference library in the city is named after Barks.


Barks was involved with starting classes at the Wedgwood Memorial College in Barlaston, which remains an important centre of Esperanto education.[3]

Through Barks' influence his local pub in Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent, acquired the name "The Green Star" (an Esperanto symbol) and a sign in Esperanto "La Verda Stelo". It is mentioned in a poem by Raymond Schwartz.[4] Smallthorne also has a street named after Zamenhof.[5]

He married Agnes Catherine Johnson.


  1. ^ People of Stoke-on-Trent
  2. ^ "People who made the Potteries - Horace Barks". Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "A Tribute to a Noble Worker for Esperanto: Horace Barks", was included in (Esperanto) Rubenaj Refrenoj (Ruby Refrains), Gubbins, Paul (ed.), Berkeley: Bero Publishers, 2001
  4. ^ ::Cxe l’ Verda Stel’ en Stoke-on-Trent ::-se cxio sekvos sian fluon- ::la filoj de potfara gent’ ::el potoj cxerpos novan gxuon
  5. ^ Green Star Public House, Esperanto Way, Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent

There are two posthumous autobiographical publications by Barks, both based on taped reminiscences.

  • Fragments of Autobiography, 1986
  • North Staffordshire regiments in the First World War: Part 1: The Military Experience of Horace Barks, 1914-1918 - Michael Occleshaw, Staffordshire Studies, Keele 1988.