back to Portraits of Potteries People



Biographies of people from the Stoke-on-Trent & 
Newcastle-under-Lyme Conurbations


Barnett Stross


next: Hugh Edwards, Solicitor, Chairman of Moorcroft Pottery 
revious: Charles William Brown, Mine Manager, artist




Barnett Stross  b.1899 d.1967

Doctor, Politician, Member of Parliament 

Barnett Stross
Stross devoted the largest part of his life to his political career, playing a major role in the development of relations between the UK and Czechoslovakia, the renewal of the village of Lidice and the protection of workers against industrial disease. 

As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee he kept in touch with Czechoslovakia for all his life. On the 18th June 1947 the Czechoslovak government awarded him the highest state award, Order of the White Lion, for his effort to support the renewal of Lidice.


  • Born to a Jewish family in Poland on Christmas Day 1899.

  • The family moved to Engalnd when Barnett was three. 

  • He studied medicine at the University of Leeds and qualified in 1926 - he set up practice in Shelton (Hanley), Stoke-on-Trent.

  • c.1928 - 1945 lived at the White House, Shelton

  • In 1930 he joined the Labour Party.

  • 1938 became city councillor for the Shelton Ward.

  • He led a campaign, initially amongst the Stoke-on-Trent mining community, to rebuild Lidice, a Czechoslovak village which had been destroyed by Nazi forces during the Second World War in a 1942 massacre.

  • In 1945 he became a co-founder of the Arts & Amenities Group of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

  • In 1957 Barnett was awarded the Freedom of Lidice. 

  • 1945 - 1966 Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent's Hanley division (later Stoke-on-Trent Central).

  • Stross received a Knighthood in 1964.

  • In 1964 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health. He left office in February 1965 and in July 1965 announced his retirement from the House of Commons due to concerns about his own health. He stood down at the 1966 general election. 

  • Barnett Stross died at the University College in London on 14 May 1967.



Barnett Grove
Barnett Grove 


Stross Avenue
Stross Avenue 


Barnett Grove & Stross Avenue in Little Chell - named after Sir Barnett Stross




The White House in Broad Street, Shelton
The White House in Broad Street, Shelton
behind the White house can be seen the chimney of the Ashworth's pottery works

photo: E.J.D. Warrillow

The principal owners / occupants of the White House were:-

Ralph Baddeley, Master Potter c1772 -1800

Richard Hicks, Master Potter c1807 -1856

John Sugden Crapper, Dentist c1856 - 1907

Barnett Stross, Doctor c1928 -1945

The White House was demolished after the Second World War and is now the site of the Mitchell Memorial Theatre in Broad Street. 





FACTORIES ACT 1937 and 1948
The Pottery (Health and Welfare) Special Regulations  1950

These regulations prescribed much improved conditions - including the control of chemicals, pottery dust (which caused silicosis), workshop conditions and maximum and minimum working temperatures.



Stross and the pottery industry workers

  • Barnett Stross appeared before a committee of inquiry into silicosis as an expert witness on behalf of the pottery workers. 

  • His campaign on silicosis became a passionate cause of his and successive government schemes providing compensation for people suffering from pneumoconiosis and silicosis were established as a result of his campaigning. 

  • He successfully launched a media campaign to obtain financial compensation for miners who suffered serious occupational lung disease. 

  • At a time prior to the existence of a Welfare State in Britain, Stross gave medical care without charge to the poorer members of Stoke-on-Trent's communities. 

  • Stross became honorary medical adviser to the Pottery Worker's Society, he was also involved with the North Staffordshire Miners' Federation and an active member of the Socialist Medical Association. 





Lidice Shall Live
Lidice Shall Live


Barnett Stross led the campaign "Lidice Shall Live" and in September 1942, coal miners in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire in Great Britain founded the organisation Lidice Shall Live to raise funds for the rebuilding of the village after the war.



Hanley Town Hall 

The Czech President in exile, Edvard Benes met with Stoke-on-Trent miners in front of 
Hanley Town Hall before the mass public meeting at The Victoria Hall that evening. 


Hanley's Victoria Hall
's Victoria Hall 6th September 1942
Barnett Stross led the campaign and made the keynote speech

Stills from the launch of the "Lidice Shall Live" campaign as reported by Movietone at the time


The launch took place in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent on September the 6th 1942, barely three months after the atrocity in Lidice. 

Barnett Stross made the defiant remark that "Lidice Shall Live" in direct response to Hitler's proclamation that Lidice should "Die Forever". As an arbitrary reprisal for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich the mining village of Lidice was systematically removed without trace from the surface of the earth. 

Stross's campaign attracted the mineworkers and other workers in Stoke-on-Trent and, from its base in the potteries began to spread nationally, then internationally. After the war the equivalent of 1m had been raised to assist in the rebuild of a "new" Lidice. 

Stross's stamp is everywhere in today's Lidice: the gallery, the rose garden, Barnett Stross Alley. Sir Barnett Stross was granted Freedon of the Lidice in 1957. 




Mitchell Memorial Youth Centre opening ceremony in 1957
Mitchell Memorial Youth Centre opening ceremony in 1957 


Stross was instrumental in the establishment of the Mitchell Memorial Theatre in Broad Street, Hanley - the theatre was built on the site of the White House which was Barnett's home and surgery from 1928 to 45.

Stross's lifelong love was art. In 1945 he became a co-founder of the Arts & Amenities Group of the Parliamentary Labour Party. 

He played a key role in purchasing the Leonardo da Vinci Cartoon of the Virgin and Child with St Anne and John the Baptist for the UK. 

As a member of the Historical Buildings Council he ensured the preservation of some industrial buildings as a reminder of the industrial revolution in England. 

Thanks to Barnett Stross, North Staffordshire gained many precious works of art. He bequeathed his large art collection to the University of Keele, of which he was a co-founder. The collection consisted mainly of pictures, sculptures and objets d'art of the 19th and 20th centuries.






previous: Charles William Brown, Mine Manager, artist


extractions from the Wikipedia article Barnett Stross, licensed under CC-BY-SA


Related pages..

People who made the Potteries - Stoke-on-Trent M.P.'s 

Mitchell Memorial - Youth Centre, Hanley - opened on 28 October 1957

External Links..

Facebook page for Sir Barnett Stross

Lidice Shall Live - YouTube

Barnett Stross on Wikipedia

The Czech village Lidice - on Wikipedia