@ 8.30pm - 10pm

Evening Talk: Birdman from the Pampas – Restoring W H Hudson: the Man above the Fireplace by Conor Jameson

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In this engrossing talk, Conor describes how his search in the archives for 19th Century traces of the goshawk led him to W H Hudson. A life-size oil painting of Hudson hangs above the fireplace in the main meeting room at RSPB HQ in Sandy. The more Conor finds out, the more intrigued he becomes that this once celebrated author and naturalist has been largely forgotten. Delving deeper, Conor discovers an unschooled, impoverished, battle-scarred immigrant who befriended the ‘Bird Society’s’ founding women – the only man in the room when they first gathered in a Croydon drawing room in 1889. By the end, Hudson was so revered that a bird sanctuary and sculpture was created in his memory in Hyde Park, and unveiled by the Prime Minister. Conor’s journey of discovery also takes him on a pilgrimage to Hudson’s South American homeland, to find that Senor Hudson is still revered there, including by the RSPB’s partner organisation. And a project close to Hudson’s childhood home, to create a vast national park, were funded by the British Birdwatching Fair. Conor links Hudson’s life and legacy to today, and compares then and now. A costume drama, with plenty of birds.

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