Barbara Castle (1910–2002) was the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Blackburn from 1945-1979, becoming one of the longest serving female MPs. During this time she held five cabinet posts; as Secretary of State for Employment she is famous for introducing the Equal Pay Act of 1970 and as Minister of Transport her achievements included legislating for the fitting of seat belts in new cars and the breathalyser test and introducing the 70mph speed limit, which was the first speed restriction on British roads. As Secretary of State for Health and Social Services she introduced the Carer’s Allowance and oversaw the passing of the Child Benefit Act, a universal welfare payment to every child which replaced the Family Allowance. Following her career as an MP, she became a Euro-MP and in 1990, having been granted a life peerage, entered the House of Lords as Baroness Castle of Blackburn.
This statue pictured here with its sculptor, Sam Holland, depicts Castle, a champion of women’s rights, in her 40s, striding forward carrying a copy of the Equal Pay Act. The campaign to erect this statue was led by Blackburn Councillor, Maureen Bateson, who had worked closely with Castle.
Location: Jubilee Square, Blakely Moor, Ewood,. Blackburn, Lancashire.