University of London Archive: Brown Animal Sanatory Institution

Scope and Content

The collection, 1930-1950, contains minutes and related papers of the Committee appointed by the Senate to administer the Institution (BR 1 and BR 2).

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1852 Thomas Brown bequeathed a sum of money to the University for founding, ' an Institution for investigating, studying and endeavouring to cure maladies, distempers and injuries, any Quadrupeds or Birds useful to man may be found subject to.' The Senate allowed funds from the bequest to accumulate for nineteen years and in 1871 with a total sum of 33,800 built the Brown Institution in Battersea.

The management of the Institution was under the control of a committee, which was responsible to the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and Fellows of the University of London.

The Committee of Management consisted of the Vice-Chancellor, not less than six members of the Senate, 'medical men'. The Committee was required to frame bye-laws, rules and regulations, govern the finances for the maintenance of the Institution, regulate the conditions of reception of the animals and the purchase of diseased animals for the promotion of science. The business of the institution was under the direction and control of the superintendent and was conducted in two departments, the Hospital and the Laboratory.

In the Hospital, where sick animals were treated, the Superintendent had the aid of a qualified veterinary surgeon. In the Laboratory research on animal diseases, animal physiology, surgical procedures and animal nutrition was conducted under the direction of the Superintendent. Scientific investigations were also undertaken for public bodies and institutions. These included The Royal Society, The Local Government Board and The Veterinary Department of the Army. Under the terms of Thomas Brown's Will the Professor Superintendent was obliged to give at least five lectures a year in English free to the public.

At the outbreak of the Second World War the hospital was closed owing to the departure of the Veterinary Assistant for the Army. In 1940 and 1943 the Institution sustained bomb damage. Further damage was incurred in February 1944 by flying bombs. The final destruction of the buildings occurred on 20 July 1944. This marked the end of the Institution's working life. After the War, the London County Council made a compulsory purchase order for the site where the Institution stood and in 1953 paid the University of London 4,700 for it. By that time it had been decided not to rebuild the Institution.

After twenty-five years of legal wrangling it was decided that the Trust Fund should be divided into two and it was shared between the University of London and Trinity College, Dublin. The income from the London share was used to maintain a Fellowship in veterinary pathology at the Royal Veterinary College.

Access Information

Access to the items in the collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the controlled environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room

Archivist's Note

1999-08-31 Simon McKeon; 2000-03-01 Joseph Gelfer