Ferguson's Gang: The Secret Society That Saved Rural England

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Pavilion Books, Nov 12, 2015 - History - 224 pages

Ferguson’s Gang was a mysterious and deeply eccentric group of women operating in the 1930s who combined anarchic stunts and fine dining with saving the English countryside. Disturbed by the growing destruction of British landscape and historic buildings in the UK, they began to raising money for the National Trust, which a masked member would deliver in bizarre ways—Victorian coins sewn into a goose's carcass, a one hundred pound note wrapped around a cigar, or cash stuffed into miniature bottles.

Fuelled by delicious food hampers from Fortnum & Mason, they travelled the country finding property and land under threat. Their escapades were followed religiously by the national press, and when "Ferguson" broadcast a BBC radio appeal on behalf of the Trust, they netted six hundred new members and hundreds of pounds. The Gang helped to save many properties and tracts of the Cornish coast, and supported appeals to buy land in the Lake District, Devon, and Wiltshire. To preserve their anonymity they wore masks and adopted pseudonyms (including "Bill Stickers", "Red Biddy", "The Bloody Beershop", and "The Artichoke"). They remained anonymous until their deaths, but with the help of their relatives, colleagues and friends of the Gang, Polly Bagnall and Sally Beck provide the true facts and reveal this group of eccentric English women in all their glory for the first time.

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About the author (2015)

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.

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