Mary Barbour by Okanlawon Adeniyi
Instagram Series on Glasgow's Statues and Sites to Women

On our Instagram we are doing a series on Glasgow’s Women, picking out statues and sites around Glasgow that help showcase memorable women who have had an impact on the city.

Here is one of our first posts, T&D member Okanlawon Adeniyi’s feature on the Mary Barbour statue.

Photograph of statue, a line of sculpted metal figures in dimishing size led by a woman with her right arm outstretched. Figures stand on a sandstone plinth that rises up towards the back raising the smaller figures with it, and front of plinth reads 'Mary Barbour 1875-1958'.

Image credit Lesley Mitchell.

The Mary Barbour statue stands at Govan Cross outside Govan Subway station, behind Govan Cross shopping Mall in Glasgow. The sculpture depicts a line of a marching group, with community members led by Mary Barbour standing on an angled platform.

The statue was completed in 2017 and unveiled on 8th March 2018. It was designed by sculptor Andrew Brown and made with Bronze material. The statue was unveiled on International Women’s Day to honour her for the great works she has done for the community during her time.

Mary Barbour (née Rough) was born on 20th February 1875, died at the age of 83 on 2nd April 1958. She was well known for Glasgow Rent Strikes, and the Women’s Peace Crusade, because of the good impact she contributed to the whole community.

Mary was an important figure in Glasgow that improved housing and conditions for working people during the 1915 Rent Strikes, when she exposed and protested against the landlords who took advantage of the wartime economy by increasing the rents and evicting those who could not pay during the time. Mary was a political activist, community leader, local counsellor, and magistrate who campaigned for peace and taking action to effect social change, political, economic, and environmental change in her community.

Mary Barbour’s name will be remembered forevermore not only in Glasgow but to the entire world for what she has done, for making other women know that there is nothing women cannot achieve in life, for building women’s self-esteem.

The first time I saw the Mary Barbour statue at Govan subway station, what came to mind was, she must have to be a strong woman and do something meaningful for the community before the statue could be erected. Especially when I read the meaning to the statue, saw other people behind her, that she was leading, because it is very uncommon seeing a woman statue around the city or in a country. Men always find it difficult to recognize women in that way, until I read about her story and see that a lot of people fought for her to be remembered.

By Okanlawon Adeniyi

Image credit: Lesley Mitchell

If, like us, you want to see more memorials of women in Glasgow, keep an eye out for more in this series from our group, where we will seek out our own sites to memorable women. If you have any statues, sites or characters you would like to see, let us know!