Date confirmed for unveiling of Barbara Castle statue

Published Tuesday 31 August 2021 at 11:21

The countdown has started for the long-awaited unveiling of an impressive statue of Blackburn’s pioneering MP, Barbara Castle.

The bronze statue, which depicts Barbara in her prime striding purposefully, will be the centrepiece of the new Jubilee Square in the Northgate area of town.

The launch event will take place on Saturday October 9, a few days after what would have been Barbara’s 111th birthday.

The statue has been funded mainly by individuals and organisations both locally and nationally, with additional open space contributions from a recent private housing development in the town centre.

There is still an opportunity for people keen to contribute to the project to donate to the statue fund. You can donate at Civica Payments Portal – Products & Services catalogue (

Barbara Castle, who served as Blackburn MP from 1945-1979, an MEP for Greater Manchester 1979-1989, becoming a lifetime peer in 1990, remaining active in politics until her death in 2002. Instrumental in the Equal Pay Act and championing women’s rights, she also introduced the Carer’s Allowance, as well as road safety legislation that led to the introduction of seatbelts and breathalyser tests.

Councillor Maureen Bateson, who has been supporting the project throughout, said: “Barbara Castle was a trailblazer for women everywhere. She also represents all that’s best about Blackburn – real grit and determination and succeeding, often against the odds.

“The statue will help us honour all that she did and will ensure that her memory lives on, inspiring future generations.

“We hope it will draw visitors to the town and also address the distinct lack of statues of inspirational women in the county and right across the country while celebrating the area’s rich heritage.

“I’d like to thank everyone that has donated so far to help bring ‘the Baroness’ to Blackburn.”

Her astonishing 56 year long career was even captured in recently as part of Netflix hit series ‘The Crown’ and the BBC’s ‘The Trial of Christine Keeler.’ She was also a key character in the film Made in Dagenham.

The campaign has recently been publically endorsed by actor Maxine Peake; known for her roles in Black Mirror, The Theory of Everything and the BBC classic Dinnerladies, as well as Nigel Cole, director of 2010 film Made in Dagenham, which featured Barbara’s campaigning.

The statue, which is now completed, has been created by sculptor Sam Holland and is being stored ahead of the unveiling.


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