The Animal History Group has been founded by a group of PhD students at KCL, who work on an eclectic range of topics within animal history.  The history of animals is a broad-ranging field, which draws unexpected connections between different subjects and facilitates new understandings. Yet this very diversity can mean that researchers in different areas are unaware of each others’ work. We intend the Animal History Group to provide a forum for animal historians to meet and exchange knowledge, thus reaching new insights and making new links within the discipline.


Elle Larsson is a PhD student based at King’s College London and the Natural History Museum. Her project, ‘Collecting, Curating and Construction of Zoological Knowledge: The Work of Walter Rothschild’s c.1878-1937’, uses the work of Walter Rothschild, the eccentric zebra-driving founder of the Zoological Museum at Tring, to explore the world of nineteenth century animal collection and zoology.

Alison Skipper is a veterinary surgeon with a particular interest in the medical history of the pedigree dog. She is a Wellcome Trust funded PhD student at KCL, working on ‘Form, function and fashion: health, disease and pedigree dog breeding in the twentieth century’.

Felicity McWilliams is a museums professional and postgraduate student of the history of agricultural technology. She is undertaking an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD at KCL and the Museum of English Rural Life, entitled ‘Rethinking Technological Change in Modern British Agriculture: the use of draught power on farms, c. 1920–1980’.

Alex Bowmer is a medical professional and postgraduate researcher of the history of medicine. Changing his field of focus by undertaking an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD at KCL and the Museum of English Rural Life, Alex now studies the use of medicines in livestock health management. His project, ‘Dipping, Dosing, Drenching: Managing Unhealthy Beasts’ aims to track the developments of the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, to understand how drugs were used and understood.

Scott Hunter is a PhD student at King’s College London working in partnership with the National Horseracing Museum. His project, ‘Animal Celebrity and Mass Spectatorship in British Horseracing, c. 1918 – 2018’, examines the meaning of sporting celebrity for racehorses and the changing nature of public-racehorse relationships as new ways of viewing sport emerged throughout the 20th century.

Nicole Gosling is a PhD student at Kings College London. She is currently working in collaboration with an inter-disciplinary team of scholars on the Wellcome trust-funded FIELD project (Farm-level Interventions in Endemic Livestock Disease). Her role is to examine the history of lame sheep, focusing on how definitions of lameness and ways of responding to it have changed since 1947, in relation to developments in veterinary science and practice, farming communities and education, agricultural economics and politics, and methods of breeding, keeping and relating to sheep.