Image by Andy Holmes

Activist - Feminist - Bird Lover

A statue for

Emily Williamson

 Founder of the RSPB 

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Partnered by the RSPB



Emily Williamson, 34, was so horrified by the fashion for feathered hats that she launched a campaign to halt the plumage trade. She invited her friends to tea at her home in Didsbury, Manchester, and asked them to sign a pledge to wear no feathers. And so the Society for the Protection of Birds was born. The year was 1889.

All of its members were women. 


In 1921, following a 30 year campaign, the Plumage Act was passed, ending the trade in exotic bird skins. Vulnerable species began to recover. And the RSPB moved onto other campaigns and issues.

Emily Williamson's story faded from the history of conservation.

We think this inspirational woman, founder of the UK’s largest conservation charity, deserves to be remembered. That's why we’re launching a competition for a statue to honour her legacy, to be erected near her home in Manchester. Find out more here


Image by Gareth Davies


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Partnered by the RSPB



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© Tessa Boase 2020 

Emily Williamson drawing © Clare Abbatt 2019

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