Barbara Castle

Politician from United Kingdom

Barbara Anne Castle, Baroness Castle of Blackburn (née Betts), PC, GCOT (6 October 1910 – 3 May 2002) was a British Labour Party politician. Elected to Parliament in 1945, she rose to become one of the most important Labour Party politicians of the twentieth century. Until her record was broken in 2007 by Gwyneth Dunwoody, Barbara Castle held the record as the female MP with the longest continuous service. She is the first, and to date the only, woman to have held the office of First Secretary of State. The youngest of three children, she was born at 67 Derby Road, Chesterfield to Frank and Annie Betts, and raised in Pontefract and Bradford. Castle was introduced to socialist politics and beliefs from a young age. She grew up in a politically active family home where there was "always someone sleeping on the sofa". Her older sister Marjorie later became a pioneer of the Inner London Education Authority, while her brother Jimmie engaged in field work with Oxfam in Nigeria. She joined the Labour Party at a young age. Her father was a tax inspector, exempted from military service in World War I due to his high rank in a valued occupation (known as a reserved occupation). It was  ( Wikipedia article )


Personal facts

Date of birth
Place of birth
United Kingdom

Political career

Party From To
Labour Party


Institution From To
St Hugh's College, Oxford
University of Oxford


Date of death
Place of death

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