Location: Govan, Glasgow
Artist: Andrew Brown
Mary Barbour (1875-1958) was a Scottish political activist, community leader, social policy pioneer, local councillor and magistrate who played an outstanding part in the Red Clydeside Movement in the early 20th century.
Mrs.Barbour first became politically active after joining and becoming a leading member of the Kinning Park co-operative guild. Her political activism began in earnest during the Glasgow rent strike of 1915, when she effectively organised tenant communities and eviction resistance. The rent strikers became known as 'Mrs.Barbours Army". The government of the day could not withstand the pressure and by the end of 1915, the Rent Restriction act was in place and the rent strikers made history assured.
Mary became one of the first female councillors when she stood for Glasgow Town Council in 1920. For a decade, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the working class constituency, serving on numerous committees, covering the provision of health and welfare services, led campaigns for school milk, children's play parks, municipal wash houses and Glasgows first family planning clinics. From 1924-27, Mrs.Barbour served as Glasgow Corporations first woman Ballie and was appointed as one of the first female magistrates in Glasgow.
Mrs.Barbour was also one of the great founders of the Womens Peace Crusade, with a general aim for 'peoples peace' to negotiate an immediate end to the second World War without any annexations or indemnities. The WPC has become know as "one of the most active and pernicious propaganda organisations in the country". The Women's Peace Crusade quickly became one of the fastest growing and the largest peace movements that spread across the UK during the war, it was also the one with the most support of grassroots and the working class.
A sculpture of Mary by Andrew Brown was unveiled in Govan on 8 March 2018 to mark International Women’s Day. The sculpture shows her leading rent strikers, capturing the remarkable events of November 1915. Andrew Brown wanted to help keep her story and achievements alive, the statue is an inspiration to future generations to take action against housing injustice in their communities.