Barbara Castle, who served the people of Blackburn in parliament for over thirty years, was described upon her death in 2002 as “one of the most remarkable women politicians of the last century”.
She was elected as MP for Blackburn on 5 July 1945 and built a reputation for herself as a conscientious, hard-working, tenacious back-bencher. It wasn’t until Harold Wilson was elected in 1964 that she gained ministerial responsibility, first at Overseas Development as only the fourth woman in history to sit at the Cabinet table. She then served as Secretary of State for Transport, introducing the breathalyser, 70mph speed limit on motorways, and legislation requiring all cars to be fitted with seatbelts. She then served as Secretary for Employment and Productivity and First Secretary of State from 1968-1970.
Barbara Castle was MP for Blackburn from 1945-1979.
A public campaign has been launched to raise money to commemorate her life with a statue in Blackburn Town Centre. The Barbara Castle Trust have already pledged £19,000 towards the statue but the campaign is aiming to raise another £50,000 to cover costs of producing and installing the piece. You can read more and donate by following this link.
Obituaries and tributes
- Tributes to Barbara Castle – Lancashire Evening Telegraph
- Farewell, our Barbara – Lancashire Evening Telegraph
- Labour stalwart Castle dies – BBC News
- Obituary: Red Barbara’s Rocky Road – Paul Foot, Socialist Review
- Obituary in The Guardian: “the most important woman politician Labour has produced”
- Obituary in the Independent: Barbara Castle, Labour’s fiestiest baroness, dies age 91