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Early interviews

Mary Brancker CBE (London, 1937)

This 25-hour interview was recorded between 2009 and 2010. It includes recollections of Mary Brancker’s early family life and education, and time at the Royal Veterinary College (1932 to 1937). She also describes her subsequent life in the East Midlands, where she worked for Harry Steele-Bodger before and during the second world war, and later ran her own practice.

Listen to an extract

'Remembering Louis' - Mary Brancker recalls a former patient, Louis, a chimpanzee at Twycross Zoo (3 mins).

Pamela (née Robinson) and Tony Owen (Liverpool, 1953)

This interview was proposed by Mary Brancker, and recorded between 2009 and 2012.  After qualifying in 1953, Pam joined Mary as an assistant, while Tony practised on the Isle of Man. Shortly before their first child was born, Tony himself joined Mary’s practice. In 1956 Pam and Tony Owen moved to a mixed practice in Kendal.

The 30-hour recording includes recollections of their early lives and education, Tony’s wartime service in the Royal Navy, their time at Liverpool University (1947/48 to 1953), experiences of working on Esmé Firbank’s sheep farm at Dyffrin in North Wales (celebrated in the wartime bestseller, ‘I Bought a Mountain’), Tony’s first employment on the Isle of Man (1953-54), and their work and life-long friendship with Mary Brancker. It also includes detailed recollections of their mixed Lakeland practice from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s.

Listen to an extract

Pam and Tony Owen recall advice on animal management from Charlie Elam, lecturer in Animal Management, Liverpool Veterinary School, early 1950s (2mins).

There is a New interview with Alistair Clarke


Copyright in these recordings is held jointly by the British Library and the Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University.