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Betty Campbell statue begins its journey to Cardiff

26 Sep 2021 3 minute read
Betty Campbell

The brand-new statue of Betty Campbell has started its journey to its new home in Cardiff.

Monumental Welsh Women, the organisation responsible for getting five statues of Welsh women put up in five years, has announced today that the first statue of the project, and the very first public statue of a named Welsh woman, has left the foundry, destined for Cardiff where it will be unveiled on Tuesday.

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.

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.


After 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 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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Morris Dean
Morris Dean
2 years ago

Da iawn Betty, a da iawn Merched Cymreig Mountmental a phawb arall sy di brwydro am hyn

Gary Owen
Gary Owen
2 years ago

Methu aros/can’t wait to see the finished statue.

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