26. Aug, 2016

Today's Treasures At St Katharine Docks (12) Exotic Feathers

Another favourite sculpture by Paula Haughney, to be found on Marble Quay. As with all the Treasures here, there is a fascinating story behind the item. This one reminds us of the huge tonnage of exotic plumage brought into St Katharine's, mainly to decorate ladies fashionable hats. 'The Plume Boom' reached its height in the 1880's. Hunters made big money killing the adult male of the species, leaving its family to die and leaving a shortage of males to such an extent that concern developed worldwide that the trade needed to be stopped. Queen Alexandra banned the use of them at Court and the RSPB (Royal Society For The Protection Of Birds) pressed hard for reform- similarly in America and other countries. This lead to the Plumage Act of 1921 which put a virtual end to this trade. Like the other treasures in this blog, it is featured in the book.