Glasgow Sisters
Glasgow Sisters
By:, Categories: Words & Images, 3 comments



‘It’s A Man’s Man’s World’, so says the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.  And nowhere is this more evident than in Glasgow’s many manly statues, because, after all, the city already has a surplus of female commemorative sculptures. Three, to be precise – Queen Victoria in George Square, Lady Isabella Elder in Govan, and La Pasionara on the Clyde Walkway.


Many Glasgow citizens fought and died during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 – and this is the city’s monument to the International Brigade which fought in the civil war, and is that of Dolores Ibárruri, a communist from the Basque country who played a prominent role on the Republican side. ‘La Pasionaria’ (The Passion Flower), as she became known, was a great orator and propagandist who coined the phrase, “Better to die on your feet than to live for ever on your knees.”


But could a new statue – and this time a true, local working-class heroine – be set to join the other ‘sisters’ in Glasgow?  Govan housewife Mary Barbour (1875-1958) was instrumental in organising the famous rent strikes of 1915 that changed British law. She took on and exposed unscrupulous landlords who – exploiting the fact that men had left their homes to fight in WWI – tried to steeply increase rents in the city.


A doughty champion of social issues, she went on to become Glasgow’s first woman Labour councillor and campaigned successfully on a range of welfare issues, securing pensions for mothers, free school milk for children and pioneered the city’s first family planning clinic. The campaign to raise money for her statue has also recently seen the Govan-born ex-Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson making a return to his Socialist roots to donate £5000 to the Remember Mary Barbour appeal.


Leica M3 & 50mm Summilux V2
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Rodinal/R09 (1+50 – 9.5 min)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan



  • Another Excellent story !
    Ahhh, Women Rule

    Well perhaps JK Rowling can open up her purse strings 😉

  • She almost sounds like America's Margaret Sanger. Liberal women in the States really lover Sanger.