Bradley Rmer working on the Betty Campbell mural in Butetown. Credit: Mount Stuart Primary School
Bradley Rmer working on the Betty Campbell mural in Butetown. Credit: Mount Stuart Primary School

Betty Campbell is honoured with Butetown mural chosen by primary pupils

My City, My Shirt artist Bradley Rmer will depict Wales’ first black headteacher at the school where she worked for 28 years

WALES’ first black headteacher will be honoured with a mural at Mount Stuart Primary School after the idea was suggested by pupils.

Betty Campbell began working at the school during the 1970s and spent 28 years there.

Work on the mural began over the weekend and it could be ready by the end of the week if weather conditions allow.

Bradley Rmer, who was also behind the My City, My Shirt mural on James Street was selected as the artist for the piece.

The primary school was saddened when that iconic mural was vandalised in October 2021 and decided to raise money towards it.

The My City, My Shirt artwork became an iconic part of Butetown, and the school was keen to get Mr Rmer involved in its project.

The My City, My Shirt mural painted by Bradley Rmer on James Street. Credit: Alan Hughes

Shubnam Aziz, a teacher at Mount Stuart, told The Cardiffian what inspired the mural.

“We went to see the statue when it was unveiled and the pupils started asking ‘why don’t we do something similar to remember her’,” said Mrs Aziz.

When The Betty Campbell statue was placed in Central Square in September 2021 it was the first outdoor public statue of a non-fictional woman in Wales.

Mrs Aziz said that inspired the pupils to write letters to the chair of governors expressing their hopes of commemorating Mrs Campbell in some way.

The governing body agreed and the pupils began to gather ideas of how they could celebrate the Cardiff-born MBE. They were heavily involved in the decision-making process.

“Children are agents of change for the future; they’re great community activists,” said Mrs Aziz.

“They had recently been learning about Mrs Campbell and they felt proud to learn about her legacy.”

The pupils came up with five ideas which included a small statue, a mural and a memorial on the school gates.

Given costs and time constraints, they decided that the mural would be the best and most achievable option for the school.

The large mural will be visible from Adelaide Street, near Techniquest in Cardiff Bay.

This means it can be enjoyed by passers-by, such as 37-year-old Gareth Pritchard who regularly cycles around Butetown and the surrounding areas.

“It’s fantastic that the mural’s being painted and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished artwork when I cycle past it in the mornings,” he said.

“Betty played a huge role in the Butetown community and shaped the history of Cardiff and Wales, she deserves to be celebrated and where better to do it than in the place where she inspired so many young people.”

Originally the pupils were going to raise money to fund the project but it is now being fully funded by Cardiff University as part of an outreach programme.

The reference image was chosen by the pupils from a selection of options. It shows her during her time as headteacher at Mount Stuart Primary School in 1981.

Left: The statue which inspired the pupils to ask for the mural
Right: The reference photo used of Betty Campbell in 1981

Mrs Campbell was one of the founding members of Black History Month and a key figure in the Butetown community where she served as an independent councillor between 1999 and 2004.

“The new mural honouring Betty Campbell in Cardiff is a powerful reminder of the impact of education and representation,” said the African Community Centre Wales.

“We’re inspired by her legacy and hope this artwork encourages future generations to continue her work.”

Mrs Campbell’s granddaughter, Rachel Campbell, said this week that a Betty Campbell Day would take place on May 1 in Roald Dahl Plas and Wales Millennium Centre.

The day will consist of a performance from Mount Stuart’s school choir along with a host of other performances, music, food, and crafts which will aim to encapsulate the former headteacher’s passions.

The mural at Mount Stuart Primary is set to be completed this week
  • Mount Stuart Primary School will be sharing progress updates of the mural on their Twitter page @MSPSCardiff.