117 Earls Court Road

Most of the photographs in our collections are portraits of RCVS Council, or other prominent, members of the profession. We do have a few photographs of vets going about their daily work but as far as I am aware the only photograph of the exterior of a veterinary practice is this one of Henry Gray’s surgery on the Earls Court Road.

Henry Gray's practice at 117 Earls Court Road

Henry Gray’s surgery at 117 Earls Court Road

Henry Gray (1865-1939) qualified from the London Veterinary College in 1885.   After a few years as an assistant in the East Midlands he moved to London and set up his own practice in Kensington. Here he rapidly built up a flourishing mixed practice, building up the small animal side as equine work declined. His particular interests were diseases of the eye and the study of birds.

Henry Gray

Henry Gray

On coming to London  Gray developed a friendship with William Hunting who encouraged him in his writing and he was soon in demand as an author. He became a regular contributor to Veterinary Record and Veterinary Journal, for a time edited Veterinary News, revised George Fleming’s Practical horse keeper and wrote chapters for a number of other books.  His interest in birds meant his writing was also sought by non veterinary publications such as Fur and feather

Gray amassed a large library which was given to us following his death and which now forms part of our Historical Collection.  The books are  mainly in English, though there are several in French and German, and most are about birds.  As shown in a previous post many of the books on birds are lavishly illustrated.

In 1955 we were also given a collection of  Gray’s  personal correspondence and research notes  which cover the whole of his working life. The papers give glimpses into the cases Gray saw in his practice and reveal his research interests.  These papers, together with Gray’s library of 123 books, would be of interest to anyone studying the development of ornithological research at the start of the 20th Century.

A note on the back of the photograph identifies the gentleman in the doorway as Dick Green, brother of Robert Green MRCVS.  Henry Gray was assistant to their father after qualifying.

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