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The RCVS Knowledge maintains and curates the RCVS archives, which offer a unique insight into the history of the British veterinary profession and the lives of the members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

They include:

  • Records relating to the RCVS including manuscripts about its foundation, Council and committee minutes from 1844 onwards, and papers relating to the day to day work of the College.
  • A large collection of paintings and photographs of past Presidents, Fellows and other eminent vets and of the College and its various activities. A number of the paintings can be seen online on BBC ‘Your paintings'
  • Selection of items from the Frederick Smith Collection relating to the War in South AfricaDonated or deposited personal or private records belonging to members of the College including those of Major General Sir Frederick Smith, Dame Olga Uvarov and Connie Ford. The photograph on the right shows a selection of items from the Frederick Smith Collection relating to the War in South Africa.
  • Papers of several veterinary associations including the Society of Women Veterinary Surgeons (1941-1990).
  • Collections of manuscript lecture notes taken by students including those of Professor Edward Coleman’s lectures both at the Royal Veterinary College and St Thomas’ Hospital (1809-1833).
  • Day books from veterinary practices.
  • Several 18th and 19th century receipt books giving ‘recipes’ or lists of medicines.

We continue to welcome donations that will add to the archives. If you wish to donate material, please contact us at or 020 7202 0752.

If you would like to use material in the archives please contact us at or 020 7202 0752 to arrange an appointment.


Thanks to support from the Alborada Trust, Vets4Pets & Companion Care and other donors, we are delighted to announce that we are now able to embark on a major project to catalogue the priority documents in this historic collection and repackage them to archive standards. We have also been able to purchase the specialist digital scanner we needed to enable us to produce high-definition scans of each document so that we can start to make this marvellous archive widely available on-line, not just to the veterinary profession, but to the public as well. Lorna Cahill has now joined us from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to head the project.

The Archive Catalogue is now live and can be searched here.

This five year project is a major undertaking, and you can follow its progress in the Historical Collections blog and on our social media.


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Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Trust (trading as RCVS Knowledge) is a registered Charity No. 230886
Registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No. 598443
Registered office: Belgravia House, 62 - 64 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF