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1st July Plumage Act Celebration

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

Our shortlisted sculptors are hard at work on the final stages of their bronze maquettes, ready for the outdoors unveiling in Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury, Manchester on Thursday 1 July 2021.

The date’s important.

1 July 2021 marks the centenary of The Plumage Act – the triumph of wildlife activist and RSPB founder Emily Williamson. The Plumage Act banned the import of exotic bird skins to Britain, ending the 50-year fashion for elaborately plumed hats, and saving countless bird species from extinction. For 30 years, from 1891 to 1921, Emily Williamson, Eliza Phillips and Etta Lemon campaigned for legislation to protect birdlife from the voracious plumage trade. This date marks their important and hard-won victory.

Four different versions of Emily Williamson will be unveiled on 1 July, the work of shortlisted sculptors Billie Bond, Eve Shepherd, Laury Dizengremel and Clare Abbatt.

It’s going to be a unique afternoon in Emily’s beautiful garden – come along to inspect the entries, if you can!

2pm – Welcome from Beccy Speight, head of the RSPB. Maquettes unveiled and introduced by sculptors.

  • RSPB family-friendly nature trails

  • Cream teas outside the Café

  • Book signings with social history authors Tessa Boase & Helen Antrobus.

Emily’s campaign started simply over teacups in 1889 with a call for female friends to join her pledge to ‘Wear No Feathers’. Over time, the movement snowballed – to a victorious conclusion. As Emily showed in being the first to call out the cruel fashion for feathers, one voice can make a difference.


Vote for your favourite statue from 2pm, Thursday 1 July via our live poll.

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