Game tribute for gallus city heroine Mary Barbour

WORKING class heroine Mary Barbour has been honoured in a new card game.

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Characters from Govan's past and present feature on a set of cards reminiscent of the Top Trumps game.

Mary joins a host of Scottish celebrities including comic Billy Connolly, Sir Alex Ferguson and union leader Jimmy Reid.

The have all been scored on their 'gallusness' for Govan's Hidden Histories' Characters of Govan game.

Mary Barbour campaigned against steep rent rises during the First World War, paving the way for a law restricting the power of private landlords. She also pushed for major welfare changes, including free milk for schoolchildren, pensions for mothers, municipal banks, wash houses, laundries and public baths, and pioneered the city's first family-planning clinic.

Mary, who died in 1958, scores 99 for gallusness and her connection to Govan in the game.

Lesser known "Govanites" are also featured in the game, including Isabella 'Belle' Moore, the first British women to win Olympic swimming gold in 1912.

She was born in Queen Street in 1894 and later moved to the US to coach swimming. She was inducted into the swimming hall of fame.

Tara Beall, the artist behind the project, said: "There's a wide variety of characters but let me big up the women first. There's Mary Barbour, the activist who was involved in the 1915 rent strikes. We've got a nice cartoon of her.

"In Ancient Govan, there's Owain the Bald. He was the King of Strathclyde around 500AD and joined King Malcolm of Alba, Scotland, on an invasion along the Tweed Valley to the English fortress of Bamburgh Castle.

"They lost and Malcolm went back to Perthshire, Owain to Govan. He returned to the ancient royal church beside the river to pray, which would become the site of Govan's Old Parish church, directly across from the Riverside Museum now."

The cards will be available online and physical copies will be available in the future too.

Plans are under way to create a statue in Glasgow, honouring Mary Barbour, with former Labour MP Maria Fyfe leading the fundraising campaign.

Education Secretary, Michael Russell, has also backed calls for a new college in Glasgow to be named after her.

caroline.wilson@eveningtimes.co.uk

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