The Society for the Protection of Birds, like so many radical ideas of the time, came from Manchester. This great city in the north-west of England was the 19th-century centre of radical, intellectual life. Anti-slavery, pacifism, freethinking, republicanism, nonconformism, vegetarianism, women's suffrage – all were threshed out first in the city's drawing rooms, town halls and men's clubs.
Emmeline Pankhurst was a typical product of Manchester, triumphing with her Votes For Women campaign in 1918. We've all heard of Emmeline Pankhurst.
But few have heard of Emily Williamson, or know about Manchester's role in kick-starting Britain's bird protection movement in 1889, though we've all heard of the RSPB. Emily's social work in Manchester has also been forgotten – founder of the Gentlewomen’s Employment Association, The Princess Christian Training College for Nurses and the Loan Training Fund for young women – all firsts in the UK.
Emmeline now has her statue, unveiled in 2018 after a nationwide campaign.
Emily's story still needs telling.
Right now, Manchester City Council is reviewing what’s in the city's public spaces and how it gets there - now and in the future, so that the city's history is 'celebrated and commemorated without neglecting its diverse voices'. Their short survey is asking what you think about who or what is represented in the public spaces of Manchester – its streets, squares, forecourts, parks and other open or indoor public spaces.
Give them your views by clicking here. Make your voice count!