Ferguson's Gang
The Book

Ferguson's Gang
The Remarkable Story of the National Trust Gangsters

on and National Trust Books
November 2015 Book of the Month.
You don't often read 'gangsters' and National Trust in the same sentence, more surprising still to find out that the said 'gangsters' are a secret group of women. Operating pre-World War Two, they supported the National Trust with hard cash, and donations of property and land. They had fun doing it. They loved playing games and would deliver their 'swag' in ways we would recognise today as PR stunts. Those stunts netted a great many column inches and meant recognition for a young and struggling National Trust. Ferguson's Gang is one of those enjoyable histories that highlights forgotten and overlooked historical events, a look at a group of women whose passion for old buildings and unspoiled land meant that places like Sennen Cove can be enjoyed by everyone today. ~ Sue Baker

Published by
National Trust Books & Pavilion Books

Ferguson's Gang the remarkable story of the National Trust gangsters book by Polly Bagnall and Sally Beck
1927. Britain's heritage is vanishing. Beautiful landscapes are being bulldozed. Historic buildings are being blown up. Stonehenge is collapsing. Enter Ferguson's Gang, a mysterious and eccentric group of women who help the National Trust to fight back. The Gang raise huge sums, which they deliver in delightfully strange ways: Victorian coins inside a fake pineapple, a one hundred pound note stuffed inside a cigar, five hundred pounds with a bottle of homemade sloe gin. Their stunts are avidly reported in the press, and when they make a national appeal for the National Trust, the response is overwhelming. Ferguson's Gang is instrumental in saving places from Cornwall to the Lake District, a legacy of incalculable value. Yet somehow these women stay anonymous, hiding behind masks and bizarre pseudonyms such as Bill Stickers, Red Biddy, the Bloody Beershop, Shot Biddy and Sister Agatha.
Now Sally Beck and Polly Bagnall can reveal the identities of these unlikely national heroines and tell the stories of their fascinating and often unconventional lives.We finally get to know the women who combined a serious mission with such a sense of mischief.


Reviewed in Country File 

Reviewed by Dame Fiona Reynolds,
Master of Emmanuel College January 2016
Take a group of highly intelligent, bohemian women and the devastation of rural England in the 1920s and what do you get? Ferguson's Gang. 
This delightful book captures the originality and stealth of the group as the money it raised was dramatically presented to the National Trust by
masked 'gangsters' with richly quirky names like Bill Stickers, Red Biddy and Black Mary. Their lives and motivations are revealed in compelling detail, all the more poignantly since they sought 
anonymity during their lives and, in some cases, beyond.
There's a zest about this book and their mission, yet for all their high jinks they were deadly serious. ...
But most of all the tales of their derring-do recall a braver, gutsier time when women did what they weren't supposed to do, to enormous effect and to the country's lasting gratitude.

Ferguson's Gang
This official website was created by relatives of Ferguson's Gang with the support of the National Trust