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Emily Williamson plaque and 130th anniversary celebration

Following a campaign and fund-raising to commemorate the work of Emily Williamson, who lived in the ‘Croft’ in Fletcher Moss Park, and who started the bird-protection group which eventually became the RSPB, we have now installed a plaque to her memory on the side of the house just outside the café area. Emily lived in the house from 1882 to 1912 and formed the bird-protection group in 1889.

June 2019 was the 130th anniversary of the founding, and the RSPB, the Friends’ group and the City Council marked the occasion with an event to honour her contribution to wildlife conservation. This took place in Fletcher Moss Park on 1st June 2019, with attendance by the RSPB, the Friends Group, the City Council, Jeff Smith our local MP and author Tessa Boase, who has written a book about Emily and her colleagues in the early days of the RSPB.

A key person at the event was Professor Melissa Bateman of Newcastle University, who is a relative of Emily Williamson; and who amazingly is engaged in work on bird protection. Melissa didn’t even know she was related to Emily until the connection was discovered by Tessa Boase.

Tessa’s book is called Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather and is strongly recommended. A very good read!