FFON. Written by nature detectives.

The Frightened Face of Nature (FFON) – Inspired by the lost manuscript of the real-life 'M'

Lectures and more from Birkbeck College:

Commemorative Symposium – Maxwell Knight, the original “nature
detective” and Second World War MI5 agent.


First session, was introduced by Mrs Margaret E Cooper (Chairman)

Click on the linked text/photos below to see the relevant lecture and more.

Introductory lecture: “Maxwell Knight the naturalist” – Professor John E Cooper


Introductory lecture: “Maxwell Knight the spy-master” – Mr Simon King

p1210533 (1280x960)

Accounts by people who either knew Maxwell Knight or who were influenced by him. Tributes from herpetologists, field naturalists, conservationists, biologists, animal care staff and others (Mark Rose, FFI; John Burton, formerly BBC; June Chatfield, Haslemere; Graham Wellstead, Surrey…….)

p1210544 (1280x960)

Presentation: “The frightened face of nature: challenges facing the planet” – Mr Paul Pearce-Kelly


Second session, introduced by Professor John E Cooper (Chairman)

Presentation: “Conservation and captive-breeding projects involving chelonians” – Ms Anne Rowberry


Presentation: “Advances in the health and welfare of captive animals” Mr Alan Graham


Presentation: “Engaging the next generation: culture, care and conservation” – Ms Victoria Burton/Mr Dafydd Lewis


“Newts, nadders and neophyte naturalists” – a dramatic interlude (A re-enactment of Maxwell Knight’s childhood encounter with youths and newts at a Surrey pond – Simon King, John Cooper and others)


Symposium photos


Background to the Maxwell Knight Symposium 2018: 

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Maxwell Knight’s death and this unique
Symposium was a one-off opportunity for veterinary surgeons and others
who are interested in environmental issues such as species conservation,
captive-breeding of endangered species and public education to learn more
about the spy who loved nature.

Major Maxwell Knight

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.”

The Symposium was a huge success as was held at Birkbeck College (Gordon Square annex) 43 Gordon Square London WC1H 0PD on Saturday 24th November 2018.

It was organised by the British Herpetological Society (BHS), with support from the British Chelonia Group (BCG), the Amateur Entomologists Society (AES), the Institute of Animal Technology (IAT), the Frightened Face of Nature (FFON) and others.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: