The Hastings Rarities Affair

In August 1962, the ornithological journal ‘British Birds’ published two articles devoted to the examination of one topic. The authors, Max Nicholson and James Ferguson-Lees, made clear their intention in the accompanying editorial. This was to prove, by statistical analysis and comparison of records, that many, if not all, of the rare birds recorded from the Hastings area, in the period 1890 – 1930, were the result of a deliberate deception.

Within a short time of the publication of the articles, dramatic newspaper headlines were speaking of the ‘Hastings Rarities Fraud’, and, for some time afterwards, the issue assumed almost national importance.

  • The Hastings Rarities Affair
    In August 1962, the ornithological journal 'British Bir ...   view
  • British Birds, August 1962

    Summary of Recommendations of the ‘Bri ...   view

  • Slender-billed Curlew
  • Daily Herald, 10 August 1962
  • George Bristow outside 15 Silchester Road
    In spite of the fact that the authors of the report had ...   view
  • Map of area covered by Hastings Rarities Affair
    In J.A. Nelder’s statistical analysis, the 60-year peri ...   view
  • Glossy Ibis: plegadis falcinellus. Winchelsea 7/5/1917
  • Il Tempo, 26 August 1962
  • Wallcreeper: Tichodromia muraria, Winchelsea. No date
  • White-spotted Bluethroat: Cyanosylvia svecica, St leonards, 22/9/1912
  • HMAG Tweets
© 2018 Hastings Borough Council.  Unless otherwise stated these pages are copyright protected.  All rights reserved. Please read our Privacy Policy.