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Often visitors to the Library have an interesting story to tell about their own personal research.  Here we feature Alan Pawson who remembers how he became hooked on collecting veterinary memorabilia.

My interest in veterinary history was kindled when I chanced upon a BBC Radio 4 programme called ‘Humble Beasts’ some years ago


“My interest in veterinary history was kindled when I chanced upon a BBC Radio 4 programme called ‘Humble Beasts’ some years ago. The programme dealt with the animals that served with the Forces in the First World War… This programme fascinated me – I was hooked, and determined to find out as much as I could regarding those who had served as veterinary surgeons in that conflict.”

As well as researching the history of the veterinary profession in 1914-1918 Alan’s interest has now expanded to include collecting medals awarded to vets for their military service, RCVS silver and bronze medals, photographs of vets and veterinary medicine bottles.

Alan is a regular visitor to the Library using sources such as The Veterinary Record, The Veterinary Journal and the RCVS Register of Veterinary Surgeons to try and find out more about the owner of the medal or the vets who sold the medicine.  He tells us “sometimes I’m lucky and uncover a lot of background; sometimes not, for there may be only the briefest details regarding a death.”


On his latest visit Alan brought with him three veterinary bottles:

  • Photograph of collection of veterinary bottlesA glass bottle which belonged to Edmund Alan Pearce.  Pearce was born in 1895, graduated from Liverpool in 1917 and subsequently served in the RAVC. 
  • A cream stoneware bottle owned by Thomas Edward Hobson who practiced in Leicester.
  • Frank Bernard Pearson’s bottle containing a draught for colic.  Pearson was at one time Veterinary Surgeon to Chesterfield Borough Council.
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