A commemorative symposium about the original “nature detective” and Second World War MI5 agent

12 September 2018, at 9:38a.m.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Maxwell Knight's death and this unique symposium will be a one-off opportunity for bird-keepers who are interested in contemporary environmental issues such as species conservation, captive-breeding of endangered species and public education to learn more about the spy who loved nature.

To listeners of his BBC radio broadcasts, he was the avuncular Maxwell Knight - the Original Nature Detective - who was an avid keeper of animals including a bear, a bulldog and a baboon, plus parrot and not forgetting 'Goo' his pet cuckoo. To those within MI5, he was "M" - Britain's greatest spymaster.

This symposium will be held at Birkbeck College (Gordon Square annex), 43 Gordon Square, London, on Saturday 24 November 2018 between 1 and 6pm.

It commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of Maxwell Knight, the famous naturalist and renowned MI5 agent. It will recount and reassess his life and work in the 21st century, with reference to contemporary environmental issues such as species conservation, captive-breeding of endangered species and public education. Literature and specimens from Maxwell Knight’s collection, including long-lost manuscripts from his original filing cabinet, will be on display. During breaks and at the end of the symposium there will be a showing of Maxwell Knight’s original television/lecture films.

The symposium is organised by the British Herpetological Society, with support from the British Chelonia Group, the Amateur Entomologists Society, the Institute of Animal Technology, The Frightened Face of Nature and others.

A lot will be covered in the session. Following an introduction to Maxwell Knight as a naturalist and spy-master, a preliminary programme of presentations includes topics such as: The frightened face of nature: challenges facing the planet; Newts, nadders and neophyte naturalists; Conservation and captive-breeding projects involving chelonians; Advances in the health and welfare of captive animals; and Educating the next generation: culture, care and conservation.

Read more about the event at The Frightened Face of Nature. Tickets can be booked from the British Herpetological Society.