December 2015 Book of the Month.
You don't often read “gangsters” and National Trust in the same sentence, more surprising still to find out that the said “gangsters” are a secret group of women. Operating mostly pre-World War Two, they supported the National Trust with hard cash, they loved playing games and would deliver their “swag” in ways we would recognise today as prime PR stunts. It caused a great many column inches and meant recognition for a young and struggling National Trust. One of those enjoyable histories that highlights forgotten and overlooked historical events, a look at a group of women whose passion for old buildings and unspoiled land meant that places like Sennen Cove can be enjoyed by everyone today. ~ Sue Baker
Like for Like Reading
Men from the Ministry: How Britain Saved its Heritage, Simon Thurley
Some Country Houses and their Owners, James Lees-Milne
1927. Britain's heritage is vanishing. Beautiful landscapes are being bulldozed. Historic buildings are being blown up. Stonehenge is collapsing. Enter Ferguson's Gang, a mysterious and eccentric group of women who help the National Trust to fight back. The Gang raise huge sums, which they deliver in delightfully strange ways: Victorian coins inside a fake pineapple, a one hundred pound note stuffed inside a cigar, five hundred pounds with a bottle of homemade sloe gin. Their stunts are avidly reported in the press, and when they make a national appeal for the Trust, the response is overwhelming. Ferguson's Gang is instrumental in saving places from Cornwall to the Lake District, a legacy of incalculable value. Yet somehow these women stay anonymous, hiding behind masks and bizarre pseudonyms such as Bill Stickers, Red Biddy, the Bludy Beershop and Sister Agatha. They carefully record their exploits, their rituals, even their elaborate picnics, but they take their real names to the grave. Now Sally Beck and Polly Bagnall can reveal the identities of these unlikely national heroes and tell the stories of their fascinating and often unconventional lives. With the help of relatives, colleagues and friends, we can finally get to know the women who combined a serious mission with such a sense of mischief.
Publication date: 12/11/2015
Publisher: National Trust Books an imprint of Pavilion Books
|Publication date:||12th November 2015|
|Author:||Polly Bagnall, Sally Beck|
|Publisher:||National Trust Books an imprint of Pavilion Books|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, Books of the Month, eBook Favourites, History, The Real World,|
|Categories:||Social & cultural history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, The countryside, country life,|
Polly Bagnall is a contemporary British painter and artist working in South East London. Her grandfather, John Macgregor, was The Artichoke , a member of Ferguson's Gang. Sally Beck is a national newspaper and magazine journalist specialising in celebrity, real life and health features.More About Polly Bagnall, Sally Beck