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The very first public statue of a named Welsh woman to be unveiled in Cardiff

09 Sep 2021 2 minute read
Betty Campbell

The very first public statue of a named Welsh woman will be unveiled in Cardiff later this month.

The Betty Campbell Monument will be unveiled in the Welsh capital on the 29th September.

The unveiling of the monument of the inspirational and much loved school headmistress will take place outside the HMRC building, near Central Square, Cardiff at 11am.

The statue was designed and created by Eve Shepherd.

It came after the Hidden Heroines campaign asked the public to vote from a shortlist made up of five historical Welsh women for who they would wish to see immortalised with such a statue.

After thousands of votes were cast, Betty Campbell, who died in 2017, was chosen.

The other women who made the shortlist of five were Elizabeth Andrews, Sarah Jane Rees (known as Cranogwen), Elaine Morgan and Margaret Haig Thomas – Lady Rhondda.

Elizabeth Andrews, Betty Campbell, Cranogwen, Elaine Morgan and Lady Rhondda

Betty Campbell was Wales’ first black head teacher and championed her nation’s multicultural heritage throughout her life.

Born in Butetown in 1934, and raised in Tiger Bay, Betty overcame her childhood of poverty and won a scholarship to Lady Margaret High School for Girls in Cardiff.


Despite being told by her head teacher that her own dream of becoming a teacher would be “insurmountable” Betty became even more determined.

Despite postponing her studies after becoming pregnant at the age of 17 she qualified as a teacher after studying at Cardiff Teacher Training College.

Betty Campbell. Picture by the National Assembly.

Betty became Wales’ first black head teacher in the 1970s after taking up the role at Mount Stuart Primary School.

During her time at the school she became inspired by the US civil rights movement and she taught her students about slavery, black history, and the system of apartheid which was still operating in South Africa.

She also helped to create Black History Month and became a member of the Commission for Racial Equality, through which she met Nelson Mandela on his only visit to Wales. She also served as a councillor for Butetown from 1999 to 2004.

She was awarded an MBE in 2003 for her services to education and community life.

More details can be found via @women_welsh on Twitter

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Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
2 years ago

Great, but a pity it has taken this long. Better late than never 😊

Last edited 2 years ago by Stephen Owen
G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
2 years ago

Why only one ???
Wales needs to celebrate all its people and their achievements a daily basis

Yma o hyd

arthur owen
2 years ago

By all accounts she did not ‘suffer fools gladly’.

2 years ago
Reply to  arthur owen

She did not, according to a young-ish woman who was taught by her. This is a significant step forward for Cardiff.

Geoffrey ap.
Geoffrey ap.
2 years ago

Pleased to see this statue.,its important.
Just to remind you that we have a statue to a Cymtraes, Boudicca, in the hall of hero,s in Cardiff City Hall. Well worth a visit.
What I personally would like to see is a statue of Gwenllian fetch Gruffydd. A lady who led an army of men and died alongside them in a true heroic stand for our freedom. Any other nation would have commemorated her sacrifice years ago.

2 years ago
Reply to  Geoffrey ap.

Good info. The issue is about statues on our streets and in our midst everyday, though (or lack thereof), and celebrating people of recent times who represent us and our values and aspirations.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
2 years ago

This is great news. And the other inspirational Welsh women who made the shortlist also all deserve to be commemorated with statues.

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