Brighton’s Protest Stickers: Animal Rights

dav

A fairly unambiguous anti-fur sticker (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Kensington Gardens, 20/04/19).

Animal rights have been increasing in prominence over the last few years through the prism of vegetarianism and veganism. Brighton has been a hotspot for vegan activism over the last few years, and there a lot of protest stickers in the city encouraging people not to eat meat. However, there are many other areas where animal rights are compromised including fur, testing on animals, mass extinctions, and live animal transportation, and these topics also feature in protest stickers relatively often.

sdr

The Animal Liberation Front is a leaderless resistance movement that undertakes direct action in support of animal rights. Some consider them to be terrorists (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Church Road, 24/04/19).

dav

Another anti-fur sticker with a pretty unequivocal message. I thought that public opinion had mainly turned against fur, but it is still common enough for activists to see it as an important issue (Photo: Hannah Awcock, New Road, 04/02/17).

dav

Respect for Animals is an organisation based in Nottingham that campaigns against the international fur trade (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Dyke Road, 06/08/16).

sdr

Fox hunting remains a controversial topic, even though it has been banned in the UK since 2005. (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Queen’s Road, 20/04/19).

27-08-16 Jubilee Street (6)

Brighton Hunt Saboteurs uses non-violent direct action to prevent illegal fox hunts (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Jubilee Street, 27/08/16).

dav

Experimenting and testing on live animals is another well-publicised controversial topic. This sticker uses a particularly graphic image (Photo: Hannah Awcock, West Street, 27/10/16).

dav

The Swiss League against Vivisection has been campaigning for animal rights since 1883. Here they are targeting a specific airline in an attempt to pressure them to change their practices (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Queen’s Road, 24/03/17).

sdr

The RSPCA is a well known charity in the UK. They investigate animal cruelty, rescue animals, and prosecute those responsible. In this sticker they are calling for an end to the practice of transporting livestock long distances before they are slaughtered (Photo: Prince Albert Street, 20/04/19).

dav

PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is another well known animal rights organisation. They are an international organisation, with more than 6.5 million supporters around the world. They focus on 4 main areas where they believe animals suffer the most: laboratories, the food industry, fashion, and entertainment. Although animals in circuses are much less common than it used to be, it is still legal for UK circuses to use wild animals (Photo: Hannah Awcock, North Street, 09/12/18).

dav

It isn’t clear who made this sticker. The message reads “Don’t bet with William Hill greyhound killers.” The ‘H’ in William Hill has been overlaid with a ‘K’. Greyhounds typically live for 10-14 years, but they only race for about 4. I think this sticker is accusing William Hill of killing greyhounds when they are no longer competitive (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Church Road, 24/04/19).

dav

The symbol on this sticker may be familiar to you now as the Extinction Rebellion logo. The symbol itself is older however, created in 2011 by artist ESP. The circle symbolises the planet, whilst the hourglass indicates that time is running out for many species (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Grand Parade, 18/04/17).

dav

This march was organised in 2019 by Brighton Vegan Activists. I really like the design of this sticker, so it seemed like a good one to end on! (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Queens Road, 20/04/19).

Turbulent Londoners: Margaret Harkness, 1854-1923

Turbulent Londoners is a series of posts about radical individuals in London’s history who played a part in the city’s contentious past. Most of the Turbulent Londoners I feature are women, because their contribution to history has so often been overlooked. My definition of ‘Londoner’ is quite loose, anyone who has played a role in protest in the city can be included. Any suggestions for future Turbulent Londoners posts are very welcome. Next up is Margaret Harkness, a radical journalist and author.


Margaret Harkness

Margaret Elise Harkness was a second cousin of Beatrice Webb (nee Potter), one of the founders of sociology as an academic discipline. Margaret trained as a nurse before deciding to make her living as a writer, publishing under the name John Law.

Born on 28th February 1854 in Great Malvern Worcestshire, Margaret was the daughter of a clergyman, the second of five children. She was educated at home, before going to a finishing school in Bournemouth at the age of 21. In 1877 she moved to London to train as a nurse at the Westminster Hospital. After she qualified she worked at Guys Hospital in London Bridge, but she didn’t enjoy the work much.

In the early 1880s, perhaps inspired by Beatrice, Margaret decided to try and make her living writing. Beatrice and her sister Katie supported Margaret financially, and introduced her to a circle of intellectuals who met at the reading room of the British Museum. She began to publish both fiction and non-fiction, most of it under the pen name John Law.

Margaret became friends with a wide range of the radicals in London at the time, including Eleanor Marx and Annie Besant. She began to take an interest in radical politics herself. Margaret must have seen the impacts of poverty first hand during her time as a nurse, and she came to believe that socialism was the solution to. inequality and poverty. Her beliefs influenced her writing, and she published five novels about the lives of London’s poor. The most famous is In Darkest London, first published in 1888. Another of her novels featured the famous Bloody Sunday in  November 1887, when radicals clashed with police in Trafalgar Square over the right to protest there.

Margaret joined the Social Democratic Federation, and was an active campaigner during the 1889 Dock Strike. The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Manning, was instrumental in resolving the strike. Margaret went to see him in September 1889, and its thought she persuaded him to intervene in the dispute.

Margaret’s work enabled her to travel, she spent time in Manchester, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand. It becomes quite difficult to trace her movements, but between 1906 and the start of the First World War she was in India. It seems likely that Annie Besant introduced Margaret to the religion of Theosophy, but she also became interested in Indian nationalism, and published a book about her experiences in the country. By this stage, Margaret had rejected socialism and now advocated the ideals and work of the Salvation Army, which inspired her last know novel, published in 1921.

Margaret continued to travel, living in France and Italy before her death, in Florence, on 10th December 1923. Margaret may not have been the best known radical female author in late-Victorian London, and she might not have achieved the most either. But her achievements were still remarkable, and I think it is important not to focus too much attention on a few prominent individuals. There was a vibrant radical community in London in the late nineteenth century, all of whom played a part in the successes and failures of that period.

Sources and Further Reading

London Fictions. “Margaret Harkness: ‘In Darkest London’-1889.” No date, accessed 5th May 2020. Available at https://www.londonfictions.com/margaret-harkness-in-darkest-london.html#

Lucas, John. “Harkness, Margaret Elise.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Last modified 26th May 2005, accessed 5th May 2020. Available at https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/56894 [Subscription required to access].