The Animal History Group was founded by a group of PhD students at KCL, who worked 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 set up 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.

AHG 19 (1)
The Conveners at AHG19


Dr Elle Larsson completed her PhD, ‘Collecting, Curating and Construction of Zoological Knowledge: Walter Rothschild’s Zoological Enterprise, c.1878-1937’, at King’s College London in April 2020. Continuing with her research, Elle has since been working on several articles, thinking about future projects and devoting her time to her role on the Council for the Society for the History of Natural History. Elle is one of the co-founders of the Animal History Group.

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’. Alison is one of the co-founders of the Animal History Group.

Dr Felicity McWilliams completed her PhD at King’s College London in 2020, with a thesis entitled ‘Equine Machines: Horses and Tractors on British Farms c.1920-1970’. A museums professional prior to her doctoral project, Felicity was the curator of two new permanent galleries at the the Museum of English Rural Life in 2016. She is currently the Curator of Science and Industry at Birmingham Museums Trust. Felicity is one of the co-founders of the Animal History Group.

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 University of Lincoln. 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.


Dr 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 studied the use of medicines in livestock health management. His project, ‘Dipping, Dosing, Drenching: Managing Unhealthy Beasts’ aimed to track the developments of the veterinary pharmaceutical industry, to understand how drugs were used and understood. Alex was one of the co-founders of the Animal History Group.

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