Baroness of Blackburn statue reveal postponed

Published Tuesday 6 October 2020 at 8:48

The statue unveiling of former Blackburn MP, Barbara Castle, has been postponed amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The bronze statue of the Baroness of Blackburn was set to be revealed today (Tuesday, October 6) on what would have been her 110th birthday. Due to new restrictions and changes due to the coronavirus, Townscape Heritage Project have decided to postpone the unveiling until 2021.

The Barbara Castle statue website is not currently accepting donations due to the present crisis. The Council is looking into new ways of receiving donations.

When the time is right, the aim is for Barbara Castle’s statue to stand proudly in Jubilee Square, where Barbara would have often passed on her constituency business. It will celebrate the contribution she made to the borough, serving as MP for 34 years, and the country as a whole.

Earlier this year, Barbara Castle was the focus of a campaign to mark International Women’s Day. Her image popped up in the bus stops and digital screens around the borough. The campaign was supported by actor Maxine Peake; known for her roles in Black Mirror, The Theory of Everything and the BBC classic Dinnerladies as well as director of 2010 film Made in Dagenham, Nigel Cole.

Barbara’s career has also been recently captured as part of the Netflix hit series ‘The Crown’ and the BBC’s ‘The Trial of Christine Keeler.’

Councillor Phil Riley, Deputy Leader of the Council, said:

The pandemic has sadly meant so many things have had to be delayed. Given the national interest in this statue which will be one of the very few in the country to celebrate the achievements of an important woman, it would be wrong to unveil it when no one was able to be present.

We want to give the statue installation the fanfare it deserves and a new date, hopefully, linked with next year’s Festival of Making will provide the right setting and it will also provide the opportunity for more people to become involved in the project between now and then.

Barbara Castle was one of the best-known politicians of the Twentieth Century and trailblazer for women everywhere. She was Blackburn’s MP from 1945 – 1979. She held five high-profile Government posts and as Transport Minister, introduced the breathalyser, confirmed the 70mph maximum speed limit and legislated for seat belts on new cars. Barbara Castle will forever be linked to Blackburn.

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