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A decade before the suffragette movement began dominating headlines, a very different women’s campaign captured the public imagination. Its aim was simple – to stamp out the cruel fashion for hats decorated with birds and plumage. This was the birth of the RSPB. The year was 1889.

The feather fight – fought on both sides of the Atlantic – was bitter, vicious and un-sisterly. Wearers of the ‘bird hat’ were attacked as narcissists and slaughterers. Edwardian fashion victims hit back, calling their female critics ‘plumage cranks’ and ‘feather faddists’. Why shouldn’t emancipated women wear what they wanted?

Even Virginia Woolf (who had taken a childhood vow to wear no feathers) weighed in on the debate. As she saw it, the ‘bird question’ and the ‘woman question’ were the two burning, interlinked issues of the day.

These early animal activists stuck to their principles, and eventually won their fight. Tessa Boase tells the inspiring story of ordinary women banding together – and achieving something extraordinary.

FREE – but pre-booking is recommended

 

 

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