Sarah Barker was born in Wolverhampton in 1870, the daughter of John and Sarah Barker. BY 1891, she was living at 11 Snow Hill with her parents, brothers William, Frederick and Ernest, sisters Florence, Grace and Ethel, and servant Elizabeth Yates. She was listed as a school mistress. By 1901 the family were at 143 Penn Road. Sarah appears alongside her mother Sarah Barker, sisters Mary, Gradce and Ethel, brother William and servants Edith Restance and Martine Cambridge. She is at the same address in 1911 (the house now being known as “Hillside”), along with her mother Sarah Barker, sisters Mary, Grace and Ethel Barker, and servants Alice Greensill and Lucy Matthews. By this date, Sarah has become a housekeeper.
On 5 February 1917, Sarah enlisted with the British Red Cross as a cook, working first at Ingham Old Hall, Stalham, in Norfolk and later at Mayfield Hospital, Woolston, Southampton. Finally she moved to Longfields Hospital until 19 February 1919. She has two cards among the Red Cross collection, and her second card gives more detail about her engagements:
[crossed out: General nursing with Lampton Gen. Hosp. 1 mth 4 hrs per day. Sandon Hall. Night nurse 1 mth 11 1/2 hrs per day] Ingham Hosp: head cook. 4 mths 9 hrs per day. Mayfield Hosp: Woolston. Head cook 1 mth. Surgery nurse 2 mths. Mayfield & Bitterne Hosp: Superintendent of Kitchen 3 mths, 8 hrs per day. With the exception of the last engagement all work has been voluntary.
This card states that she was paid £45 per annum, she was on duty for 10 hours a day for five months, and her duties included the “entire catering & management of kitchen, clothing stores, & Kit”. There is additional information on the rear of the card:
[crossed out: Nursing in Gen. Hosp. W’hampton in the yr 1915 80 hrs] [crossed out: As Night nurse, Sandon Hall, in the yr 1916 322 hrs] As Head Cook, Ingham Hosp. Feb, March, April, May 1917. 1008 hrs As Surgery Nurse, & Cook at Mayfield June-Sept 1917. 672 hrs As Superintendent of Kitchen Mayfield June-Sept 1918. 672 hrs As Quartermaster, Longfield Hosp, Nov Dec 1918, Jan, Feb, March, April 1919. 1472 hrs [Total] 4226 hrs.
Sarah appears to have never married, and died in 1942.