Alma Birk, Baroness Birk

The Right Honourable
The Baroness Birk
Personal details
Born Alma Lillian Wilson
(1917-09-22)22 September 1917
Brighton, East Sussex, England, UK
Died 29 December 1996(1996-12-29) (aged 79)
Westminster, England, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Occupation Politician

Alma Lillian Birk, Baroness Birk (née Wilson; 22 September 1917 – 29 December 1996) was a British journalist, Labour Party politician and Government minister.

Birk was educated at South Hampstead High School and at the London School of Economics. After failing to gain a seat on Salisbury City Council, she gained a seat on Finchley Borough Council and served as leader of the Labour Group between 1950 and 1953. She unsuccessfully stood as a Labour Party candidate to become a Member of Parliament on three occasions; for Ruislip-Northwood in the 1950 general election, and for Portsmouth West in the 1951 and 1955 general elections.

In the 1960s she became associate editor of Nova.[1]

Birk was created a life peer as Baroness Birk, of Regent's Park in Greater London on 15 September 1967.[2] In her maiden speech she called for an enhanced probation service to help deal with juvenile crime:

I would like to see a bigger probation service, better paid, because a probation officer is sometimes the only person with whom the young person can create a stable relationship, which is absolutely essential.[1]

In 1969 she was made chairman of the Health Education Council.[1] She served as a Baroness in Waiting between March and October 1974. From 1974 to 1979 she was a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of the Environment, and then became Minister of State in the Privy Council Office in 1979. In opposition, she spoke in the House of Lords on the environment between 1979 and 1986, and on arts, libraries, heritage and broadcasting between 1986 and 1993.

She was Chairman of Redbridge Jewish Youth Centre between 1970 and 1996 and on the Executive of the Council of Christians and Jews between 1971 and 1977. She was President of the Association of Art Institutions from 1984 to 1996, and President of the Craft Arts Design Association from 1984 to 1990.[1]


She married newspaper executive Ellis Birk in 1939 and they had two children.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Lena Jeger, 'Obituary: Baroness Birk', The Independent, 3 January 1997
  2. The London Gazette: no. 44409. p. 10107. 15 September 1967.


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