Mary Barbour Statue Unveiled
In a fitting commemoration of International Women’s Day, a statue of Mary Barbour was unveiled in Govan today. This is the culmination of a four year campaign by the Remember Mary Barbour Association, begun in the autumn of 2014.
Mary Barbour led the 1915 rent strikes against rapacious private landlords which took place during the First World War. Their demand that rents be reduced back to pre-War levels were put into law later that year with the first Rent Restrictions Act. In the words of Maria Fyfe, chair of the Remember Mary Barbour Association - ‘it was a victory not just for Govan, not just for Glasgow, not just for Scotland, but for everyone across all of the British Isles.’
The unveiling itself was an eclectic mix of speeches, political tributes, gaelic folk songs, socialist ballads, and a recreation of ‘Mary Barbour’s Army’ by local schoolchildren. It is a testament to the resolve of the workers who erected the statue that it took place on time even in the face of terrible weather conditions.
Mary Barbour was elected as one of the first women councillors in Glasgow for the Labour Party. She was also an avowed peace activist, and a co-founder of the Women’s Peace Crusade. She went on to set up one of Scotland’s first family planning centres - the Women’s Welfare and Advisory Clinic - despite opposition from her more conservative male colleagues in the Independent Labour Party.