Girl power as former LGGS head takes castle helm

Pam Barker, new constable of Lancaster Castle.
Pam Barker, new constable of Lancaster Castle.
Share this article

For the first time since records began, Lancaster Castle is to have a female Constable.

Former head teacher of Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School, Pam Barker, has been appointed as the new Constable of Lancaster Castle by the Queen in her role as Duke of Lancaster.

The Constable of Lancaster Castle is an ancient appointment dating back to the 13th Century and Mrs Barker, who succeeds Gordon Johnson, is, as far as can be ascertained, the first woman to hold the position.

Mrs Barker was head of LGGS from 1987 to 2007, when she was known by her professional name of Barber.

The role of constable is mainly ceremonial, though she is required to formally offer the keys of the castle to the Queen on the occasion of a royal visit.

Mr Johnson’s last significant function as constable was to officiate at the opening of the gates of the castle to the public in Spring 2013, following the departure of the prison service.

The constable is appointed for a term of five years and may be reappointed once for a further term of five years.

Speaking of her appointment, Mrs Barker said: “The Duchy discussed my proposed appointment in advance with local MPs and the chief executives of both the city and the county councils.

“Of course the final decision rests with Her Majesty and when I got the news before Christmas that I had been appointed it was very exciting and a huge honour.

“I know the position is primarily a ceremonial one these days but I love Lancaster and intend to work hard on behalf of the Duchy and Lancaster Castle.

“I am looking forward to getting out into the community, including working with schools around the district to let them know about the castle, its history and its exciting future.”

Since retiring from LGGS, Mrs Barker has been made an honorary fellow of Lancaster University for her contribution to education in the area and is a board member( trustee) for The Community Foundation for Lancashire – a charity which helps communities to work together, setting up projects and supporting less advantaged groups.

As a Deputy Lieutenant for Lancashire during Jubilee Year, Pam organised a series of visits by her fellow DLs to schools throughout the county to talk about the monarchy and the Diamond Jubilee.

She is a keen horserider and enjoys foreign travel, fell walking, gardening and skiing.

Pam was born and bred in Yorkshire but, needless to say, her affinities now lie with Lancashire.