Emily Williamson

Emily Williamson (17 April 1855 – 12 January 1936) was a founder of the Society for the Protection of Birds. In 1889 she became concerned about the decline in bird population due to women wearing then fashionable bird feathers on hats and dresses and set up a group from her home in Didsbury near Manchester to discourage this. The group merged with a similar group set up by Eliza Phillips in 1891 to become the Society for the Protection of Birds and moved to London. Williamson became vice-president and membership grew from 1,200 that year to over 20,000 in 1899 and remained a local secretary throughout her life. The society became the Royal Society in 1904, the year in which membership fees were first introduced. She also founded the Gentlewomen’s Employment Association in 1891.

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