The University of Winchester is hosting a special event to celebrate the work of one of Britain’s greatest early environmentalists.

W.H. Hudson has been described as ‘the Chris Packham of the 19th century’ by Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers, senior lecturer in modern European and global Hispanic history.

Born on a ranch near a tributary of the River Plate in Argentina to American parents, William Henry Hudson came to Britain aged 33 to pursue a career as a naturalist and author and struggled for many years until he turned to writing about his native Argentina.

Hudson then penned a series of successful books about British wildlife and countryside including Hampshire Days (1903) and A Shepherd’s Life (1910).

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“Hudson was one of the first to write about British birds being at risk of extinction and to lobby for their protection,” said Dr Iglesias-Rogers. “He was really ahead of his time.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Conor Jameson

When he died Hudson left his entire estate to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) which he had helped found. In Argentina, his birthplace was made into a museum and ecological park named after him. In 2021, to mark the centenary of his birth, the Argentine Congress declared his birthday, August 4, Argentina’s National Day of the Naturalist.

In the event, entitled ‘Hampshire Days (1903): wildlife and rural activism from the Hispanic-Anglosphere’, Dr Iglesias-Rogers will be joined by Conor Mark Jameson, a veteran of the RSPB and author of the recently published book Finding W. H. Hudson: The Writer Who Came to Britain to Save the Birds.

Mr Jameson said: "Hudson is particularly fascinating because of his unique background as an unschooled and somewhat battle-scarred incomer who although at times uncomfortable in social situations and insecure about his place was also a fearless and sometimes outspoken advocate for nature conservation. I was particularly drawn to this mysterious outsider, with his fresh sense of his new surroundings."

It will take place on Wednesday, November 8 at St Alphege Building 202 in the University’s King Alfred quarter from 4.30pm to 6pm and online.