Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship at the history department of Kings College London, working in collaboration with the National Horse Racing Museum, Newmarket.

This exciting opportunity (which is in addition to the PhD studentships already advertised at Kings College) brings together the history of science, the history of animals, and their representation within a museum setting. The successful student will develop a novel historical perspective on the Thoroughbred racehorse, while simultaneously contributing to a new £14m Heritage Centre that celebrates Newmarket’s international status as the historic home of horseracing. Due to open in 2016, the Centre incorporates a redeveloped national museum of the sport, a gallery of sporting art, and a stable yard for retraining ex-racehorses.

The studentship will start in September 2013. It covers tuition fees and a maintenance grant from the AHRC. The level of maintenance is yet to be confirmed but in 2012-13 it was £15,590. In addition, the National Horse Racing Museum will provide £1500 per year to help fund travel, research expenses and conference costs, and another £500 per year in kind.

The supervisors are: Dr Abigail Woods (currently Imperial College, but moving to Kings College London in August 2013), Mr Chris Garibaldi (director of the National Horse Racing Museum, Newmarket), and Dr Francis Neary (Cambridge University).

The project:

As the second biggest sport in Britain today, horse racing has a long and rich history. This has been documented by economic, political and cultural histories of the sport, and by histories of the Thoroughbred breed. However, surprisingly little is known about how racehorses were managed in order to maximise their performance. Ranging across feeding, stabling, training and veterinary care, this project will examine the ideas, practices and people involved, and the contributions of science, technology and medicine. You will address how and why management changed over the period 1860-1939, and its links to broader developments in the sport, science and society.

One of the key resources for this research will be the plans and architecture of Heritage Centre’s stable yard, which was constructed in 1903 by the Rothschild family. You will assess how ideas of race horse health and hygiene were embodied in the design and structure of this building, and use your findings to help interpret the site for visitors. Drawing upon the museum’s collection of veterinary instruments, and the printed resources of the Cox library of Thoroughbred racing in Dorking , you will also assist in developing a new veterinary gallery within the museum, its narrative, design, and the selection and interpretation of objects for display.

How to apply:

The studentship is open to UK or EU citizens who satisfy AHRC academic and residency criteria. EU candidates are normally eligible only for a fees-only award. Applicants should hold a first or upper second class degree, and hold or be studying for an MSc or MA degree in a relevant area of history. An overall MSc/MA grade of 65% or more is required.

Applicants should submit a short curriculum vitae and a brief letter outlining reasons for interest in the studentship and qualifications for it. The names and contact details of two academic referees should also be supplied. Applications should be sent to Abigail Woods, [email protected] . The deadline is June 10. Interviews will be held on 18 June at the National Horse Racing Museum in Newmarket.

For further information about the project, please contact Abigail Woods, [email protected]