New series, summer 2018, opens at Erddig Hall in North Wales, once home to the Yorkes – a family famously kind to their servants. Or were they? I tell the story of ‘thief cook’ Ellen Penketh, jailed in 1907 for allegedly stealing £500 from her insecure mistress Louisa Yorke. Watch clip…
New Radio Gorgeous interview with Josephine Pembroke, talking twitchers (why are they always men?), the mysterious workings of the RSPB (why wouldn’t they let me revisit their archives?) and Mrs Pankhurst’s penchant for fashion (why so many feathered hats?). Listen here…
Bird Fair, Rutland Water Nature Reserve, Leicestershire
You might know your birds – but do you know the extraordinary story behind the RSPB? Introducing Etta, Eliza, Emily and Winifred: the four angry Victorian women protesting against ‘murderous millinery’. They took their ‘feather fight’ all the way up to Parliament – and won. Join me at the Glastonbury of the Birding world for the women’s story.
Wardown House, Millinery Museum & Gallery, Luton
A forgotten collection of Victorian and Edwardian feathered millinery ornaments were found in the attics of this elegant mansion… Join me for an evening talk on this now vanished trade and its female workforce – and for an exclusive peak inside some very old hatboxes with curator Mary Miah. Luton was once the hat-making epicentre of Britain: where better for a talk on ‘murderous millinery’?
Oldie Literary Lunch, Ilkley Literature Festival, Yorkshire
THURSDAY 4 OCTOBER. A three course lunch, three speakers, and ten minutes for each. It’s going to be pithy, revelatory and entertaining. Plus, I’m the only woman.
Knutsford Festival, Cheshire. Victorian Methodist Church venue.
FRIDAY 12 OCTOBER. A tale of two Manchester heroines, one lionised, the other all but forgotten. Step forward Emily Williamson, co-founder of the Society for the Protection of Birds.
V&A lunchtime lecture, Fashioned from Nature
WEDNESDAY 17 OCTOBER. Birds and fashion, ethics and aesthetics. How a small group of Victorian women took on the mighty plumage trade – and won.
The Bloomsbury Festival: Activists and Architects of Change
SATURDAY 20 OCTOBER. suffragettes, feathered hats and the plumage fight. Why did the magnificently hatted Mrs Pankhurst cross swords with Mrs Lemon?
The Watts Gallery, Compton, near Guildford, Surrey
WEDNESDAY 21 NOVEMBER, 7-8pm. Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather is a story rooted in Surrey: the women who fought to save the birds, and the women who fought for (and against) the vote, crossed swords in and around the Surrey North Downs. Fireworks ensued.
I’ve written a book about female activism from the desk of a
Monday, 14 May, 2018 / 6.30pm
East Grinstead Bookshop, Sussex
Every writer loves a great bookshop, so I’m thrilled to be talking at this contender for the British Book Awards Independent Bookshop of the Year, 2018. I look forward to seeing old faces and new over a glass of wine.