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The 1863 Diary of a Student at the Royal Veterinary College, London
and later at sea to Hong Kong


by  D. R. Lane  FRCVS, FRAgS

In 2007 a diary was discovered by a book dealer and passed into the hands of the author, Dick Lane, who transcribed the complete text and then followed the trail of the diarist, George Williamson. This research has contributed to an elaboration of the text with extensive footnotes. As a result the book not only makes available a unique contribution to the history of veterinary education as well as an account of the social mores of the time plus a well observed picture of seaborne life under sail.

Like most diarists, when George Williamson started to write his journal, he probably thought it would be a useful record of what happened in his first year as a veterinary student. Little did he think that almost 150 years later his words would present an original account of not only a veterinary student’s studies and life, but also a fascinating window on the Victorian world, morals and behaviour. This gives the diary a double interest, which is further compounded because by September he appears to abandon his studies and boards a clipper ship bound for Hong Kong. As a result there is a day-to-day description of shipboard life under sail, in itself an original record of an earlier method of travel. The diary stands alone, no other previous or later years’ journals have been found.

A Victorian Veterinary Student’s Diary (hardback, 241 pages, 13 illustrations) is above all a good read for everyone interested in Victorian life, veterinary education and as a bonus, life on board a tea clipper to China. It is a unique book which both sheds light on Victorian society and working conditions as well as telling several personal stories in its entries.

Retail price:  £23.00  (plus UK postage and packing = £26.60)
Members price:  £19.70  (plus UK postage and packing = £23.30)

Overseas postage (air mail) and packing:
for EU/EFTA area add £9.00  =  £35.60  (or £32.30 if a Member)
for rest of world; add £13.15  =  £39.75 (or £36.45 if a Member)

Payment can only be accepted in pounds sterling by a cheque
drawn on a British bank; otherwise payments will be refused.

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