The Vet History Society had a fascinating meeting at the RCVS on 25th Nov 2009.
The meeting began with Abigail Wood MRCVS who looked at the activities and social role of the vet in the 19th Century - where we came from.
The highlight was 'A Conversation with Mary Brancker CBE, FRCVS' who told members about her 70 years in the veterinary profession. Working with the Steele-Bodger practice (which gave temporary housing to the RCVS during the war). She complemented male vets in their attitude to women graduates, which she felt was always ahead of the medical and legal professions. Mary also told the meeting about the early days of zoo medicine when she worked with the women who established Twycross Zoo. She also outlined her involvement in fish medicine and her role in establishing the Unit at Stirling University which became the world renouned Institute of Aquaculture. Mary felt that antibiotics had made the difference to veterinary work over her time, that when she began it was 'brute force and bloody ignorance'.
Philip Ryder-Davies followed in the afternoon with a fascinating trail of clinical cases seen at a range of zoos through many years involvement in zoo and circus medicine.