10 Feb 2015

Fitting tribute for working class hero

I am delighted that a lasting memorial to Mary Barbour is on the cards. I went along to the public meeting at Old Kilbarchan Library last night where many ideas on how best to honour this incredible woman were put forward. Renfrewshire Council is working alongside Kilbarchan Community Council and local Labour councillor Derek Bibby to have a lasting memorial to Mary Barbour - one of Scotland’s true working class heroes- set up in the village where she was born. Mary lived in Kilbarchan until she was 12 before the family moved to Elderslie and then Govan where she worked tirelessly to change the country’s laws to help families in poverty. She rallied thousands of women to lead the Glasgow rent strike and protest unfair rent increases and evictions which resulted in the Rent Restrictions Act which marked a turning point in Scotland’s housing history. Mary became Glasgow’s first female councillor and then one of the first female magistrates. She was also instrumental in the provision of child welfare centres, laundries, free school milk and orange juice, children’s playgrounds and municipal wash-houses as well as getting help and benefits for mothers. This year is the centenary of the rent strike and it is right we remember Mary.