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Barks was born 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. He was a member of the Labour Party, the dominant party in Stoke-on-Trent during the twentieth century.
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.
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. Smallthorne also has a street named after Zamenhof.
- People of Stoke-on-Trent
- "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
- ::Cxe l’ Verda Stel’ en Stoke-on-Trent ::-se cxio sekvos sian fluon- ::la filoj de potfara gent’ ::el potoj cxerpos novan gxuon
- 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.