Celebrating 130 years of the RSPB in Manchester

Annabel Rushton

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Many famous movements and celebrities were made in Manchester, but it is perhaps a lesser known fact that the RSPB, the UK’s largest nature conservation organisation was founded in the city 130 years ago. To celebrate this milestone, the RSPB are inviting the public along to a special event at the place where it all began – Fletcher Moss in Didsbury, to discover more about the past, present and future of the organisation and take part in an afternoon of family fun.

On Saturday 1 June, a whole host of nature-based activities will be on offer from 1-4pm such as mini beast hunting, self-led trails, a guided walk and information stands where the public can discover more about the history and current work of the RSPB and Fletcher Moss. There will also be the opportunity to purchase a limited edition 130th anniversary pin badge depicting a Manchester bee.

Jenny Hackland, RSPB Mersey Valley Project Officer said: “We are so proud of the RSPB’s Manchester roots. The organisation was founded by the wonderful Emily Williamson from her home ‘The Croft’ at Fletcher Moss back in 1889. At the time it was fashionable for Victorian women to wear hats with the feathers, wings and whole bodies of birds, which was causing the slaughter of millions of them every year. Along with other pioneering women Eliza Phillips and Etta Lemon, they campaigned against this barbarous trade and were successful in getting it stopped. Now 130 years later, their legacy has grown into the RSPB as we know it today, the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, with over 200 nature reserves and still campaigning on issues affecting our natural world.”

Although the campaign to prevent the use of bird plumage in fashion was successfully stopped all that time ago, there are many significant threats to the UK’s wildlife that still exist today. The RSPB have recently reported on the loss of over 40 million birds in this country in the last 50 years and released a single of pure birdsong into the charts called ‘Let Nature Sing’, to raise awareness of this issue.

Jenny added: “We continue the fight to save nature, started here in Manchester all those years ago. It’s a big task that cannot be done alone. Here at Fletcher Moss and other sites across the Mersey Valley, we work in close partnership with Manchester City Council and the Friends of Fletcher Moss Park and Parsonage Gardens, to deliver activities that inspire young people about nature and advise on habitat management here. Everyone can play their part, so we hope that lots of you will come along to our celebrations on Saturday 1 June to discover more about your local wildlife and how you can help our much-loved and threatened species.”

For more information on the 130th anniversary celebration event, email Mersey.valley@rspb.org.uk.

Tagged with: Topic: Greater Manchester