Terai hat and Norfolk jacket, The Horsewoman by Mrs. Hayes (1892)

A Sporting Nation – Great British Horsemanship

Love them or loathe them the Olympic Games have arrived.  Britain’s oldest royal park, Greenwich Park, will host the Equestrian(and modern Pentathlon) events.   The picturesque venue dates back to 1433 and is the former hunting ground of the rich and athletic.  King Henry VIII introduced deer to the park in 1515, and considering himself an accomplished […]

Domestic rabbits in 'A Practical Treatise...' by Moubray, 1834

Rabbits: from prey to pet

Even though the domestication of the rabbit occurred 2000 years ago, rabbit care before the 19th century was not in the local vet or farmer’s repertoire.  This explains the lack of lagomorph related content in our historical collection. Contrary to what you may think, rabbits don’t belong to the rodent order but sit in a […]

The Dog: its external and internal organisation. Plate 5 the internal organs

The many layers of the dog

There has been a lot of discussion of anatomical illustrations recently following the opening of the exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery Leonardo da Vinci anatomist.  We have a number of stunning anatomical illustrations in the Historical Collection – the most well known would be in Stubbs’ The anatomy of the horse and then there are […]

Title page of Youatt The Horse

Brunel on the power of the horse

Search the library catalogue for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, born on this day in 1806, and you will find one entry – for William Youatt’s book The Horse: its history, breeds, and management to which is appended, a treatise on draught first published in 1831. The link to Brunel?  The inclusion of his ‘treatise on draught’ – […]

Smith - skeleton of a horse shoing back bone and ribs

Horses and the problem of sore backs

“Sore backs appear inseparable from mounted service, they have existed as long as the horse has been used in war … it was reasonable to suppose … as knowledge advanced, a reduction in this class of injury should have been possible.” So says Frederick Smith in his book A veterinary history of the war in […]

William Somervile The Chace 1767 feeding hounds

The thrill of ‘The Chace’

Today is  World Poetry Day, so to mark the occasion we have brought out one of the poetry books we have in our Historical Collection, William Somervile’s The Chace: a poem (id 15172).  This was first published in 1735 and we have a copy of the fifth edition which was published in 1767. William Somervile (1675–1742), […]

Slaughterhouses in the Tropics

One of our ongoing library projects is to catalogue the RCVS Fellowship Theses.  The collection spans approximately 120 years and fills more than 20 metres! An interesting thesis, by A. Blake, Chief Veterinary Officer in the Rangoon Municipality, Burma, is entitled ‘The management of slaughter-houses in the East’ and was submitted around 1910.  He draws on ten […]

Selection of reports from Egypt on cattle plague

Cattle plague in the colonies

It has recently been announced that the Wellcome Trust funded project to digitise the veterinary medicine reports that form part of the National Library of Scotland’s India papers collection has been added to the Medical History of British India website.  The veterinary collection, which covers the  period 1864-1959, contains important material on research into diseases such […]