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


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 from the emergence of the stratified system of sheep farming in c. 1750 to the modern day. Nicole considers how attitudes and responses to the disease have both shaped and been shaped by veterinary science and practice, agricultural economics and politics, and the patterns and practices of keeping sheep.

Dr Elle Larsson is a historian of science, specialising in the history of natural history and history of animals. Elle was awarded her PhD from King’s College London in April 2020, with a thesis entitled ‘Collecting, Curating and Construction of Zoological Knowledge: Walter Rothschild’s Zoological Enterprise, c.1878-1937’. Elle’s current research interests include natural history networks, zoo history and exotic animal ownership and recently published her second article entitled “Here They Are in Flesh and Feather”: Walter Rothschild’s “Private Zoo” and the Preparation and Taxonomic Study of Cassowaries with Centaurus. Elle also devotes her time to her role on the Council for Society for the History of Natural History as Meetings Secretary and as co-founder of the Animal History Group.

Dr Felicity McWilliams is the Curator of Science and Industry at Birmingham Museums Trust, and her research interests include Birmingham history, industrial history and the history of technology, the history of collections, rural history and animal history. She 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’ as part of a CDA with the Museum of English Rural Life. She recently published a co-written article with Kylie Little and Ellie Swinbank entitled ‘South Kensington is practically as far away as Paris or Munich’: the making of industrial collections in Edinburgh, Newcastle and Birmingham with the Science Museum Group Journal. Felicity is also Reviews Editor for the journal Folk Life and is one of the co-founders of the Animal History Group.

Dr Alison Skipper completed a PhD, funded by the Wellcome Trust, at King’s College London in 2022, with a thesis entitled ‘Form, function and fashion: health and disease in British pedigree dog breeding during the long twentieth century’. Alison is a veterinary surgeon; after many years in small animal practice, she is currently a postdoctoral researcher conducting an analysis of UK canine health research funding at the Royal Veterinary College. Alison is also a co-convenor of Veterinary Humanities UK, a network for veterinary professionals and academics interested in this field, and current President of the World Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine. Alison is also one of the co-founders of the Animal History Group.


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.

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.

%d bloggers like this: