Author Archives: twistedmouth

About twistedmouth

Writer, editor, designer.

Major milestone for the Remember Mary Barbour Campaign

The Remember Mary Barbour Campaign had come to the stage where we needed a constitution so we could apply for funding and meet the requirements for charitable organisations.

On Tuesday 17 June we held an inaugural meeting to formalise our existence, and agreed a constitution with the help of Bailie Fariha Thomas, whose experience of such matters was much appreciated.

We elected a committee of eight people to carry things forward. The are:

Maria Fyfe
James Adams
Stephen Dornan
John Kane
Esme Clark
Jennifer Russell
Sharon Thomas
Dr Catriona Burness

When the committee meets shortly all current office holders stand down, but can seek re-election.

Membership of the campaign is free. Anyone who wishes to join the campaign should send their contact details to Esme Clark, Secretary.

Business over, Dr Catriona Burness, who has been researching for us as an unpaid volunteer, gave an entertaining and instructive talk on the life and times of Mary Barbour. Everyone present already knew about the victorious rent strike, but not the whole story.  There was much else going on in Mary Barbour’s life, as Catriona notes in her article.

We were delighted to welcome Sadie Docherty, the Lord Provost of Glasgow, who told us why she was committed to this campaign, and would do all she could to help. So our Lord Provost is signed up too!  This will obviously be very helpful when we are seeking help from outside bodies to create a lasting memorial that can inspire us and future generations.

Mary Barbour on the BBC Scotland John Beattie show

Great news. The story of Mary Barbour and the Rent Strikes is to feature in BBC Radio Scotland’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.

The story of the Rent Strikes will be broadcast during the John Beattie programme at lunchtime on Tuesday, 25 February, between noon and 1.30pm. Slightly shorter versions of it are expected to feature on Good Morning Scotland and Newsdrive.

The story of Mary Barbour’s campaign against rapacious landlords during World War I is one of a series of stories the BBC is telling to commemorate the 1914-18 conflict. Other stories include: the Zeppelin raids on Edinburgh; Montrose Air Station; Carl Lody, a German spy in Scotland; the conscientious objectors held in Dyce Camp; John Meikle VC, Nitshill Railway Clerk; the Perthshire Patriotic Barrow; and Stobs Camp in Hawick.

Dr Catriona Burness on looking for Mary Barbour

There will be a Mary Barbour statue.*

The Remember Mary Barbour campaign was launched last year to make sure that the centenary of the 1915 Rent Strikes would see a statue raised in lasting memory of its key leader Mary Barbour.

The campaign won support from the Scottish Parliament and from the councils of Glasgow, scene of the most dramatic points in the Rent Strike, and of Renfrewshire, Mary Barbour’s birthplace.

Mary Barbour’s contribution to social history has been discussed on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, on Newsnight Scotland and on Al Jazeera, and has featured in the Evening Times and The Observer.

2014 is going to be a key year for the campaign as we move into the serious business of identifying sources of funding. My contribution to the campaign will be continuing research support and trying to uncover more information about Mary Barbour.

The archive research that I have done so far has focused on the Govan Press, The Glasgow Herald, clips from the Socialist press, Glasgow Corporation minutes and secondary literature.

And I’ve had help (in alphabetical order) from Councillor James Adams, Professor John Foster, Maria Fyfe, Jean Melvin, Flora Pagan, artist Sharon Thomas and the staff of the Elder Park and Mitchell Libraries and of Glasgow Council Research Centre.

I have contributed to this website’s pages abut Mary Barbour. For me the high points of the research are when I come across something that brings Mary Barbour to life. Helen Crawfurd’s Memoir gives vivid descriptions of how the Rent Strike was organised and underlines Mary Barbour’s key role. If only Mary Barbour had kept a diary! I was interested in the Govan Press first interview with her after she was elected to Glasgow Corporation, struck by her seriousness of purpose and intent to be in the Chambers every day. The later report of her directly organising the sale of small fish in Govan highlights her practical focus!

This year we will draw together education packs putting Mary Barbour in the context of her times. If you have information on Mary Barbour it would be great to hear from you. Please email us at info@remembermarybarbour.com

*As long as we raise enough money! Please help us by donating to the Mary Barbour Campaign.