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The Animal Health Trust and Lanwades Park, Moulton

The Animal Health Trust is a registered charity: it was founded in 1942 as a result of the far sightedness of veterinary surgeon Dr Reg Wooldridge CBE, FRCVS. It currently holds a pre-eminent position as a centre for research into the health and diseases of horses and small (companion) animals.

In 1942 Dr Wooldridge launched the Veterinary Education Trust (V.E.T.), the forerunner of the Animal Health Trust, with a view to raising a 1,000,000 Endowment Fund. At that time there was no thought of establishing a research institute and the only animals in mind were the food-producing ones. During his quest for financial support Dr Wooldridge came across a number of wealthy landowners who also kept or bred racehorses. The bloodstock industry too liked the concept of veterinary work and took a positive view of Dr Wooldridge's ideas. They saw that through V.E.T. they might at last be able to benefit from some detailed investigations into major problems affecting horses. In 1946 Dr Wooldridge became the first scientific director of V.E.T. Less than a week later Lady Yule offered the use of Balaton Lodge, a training yard in Snailwell Road, Newmarket, and in 1947 it opened as the Equine Research Station. Professor William Miller, a member of the scientific committee of V.E.T., and previously Professor of Animal Husbandry at the Royal Veterinary College was the founding director.

Lanwades_Hall_south_terrace._May_1999_.jpg (35181 bytes)The Lanwades Park mansion and estate of 140 acres, sited 4 miles from Newmarket on the boundary with Kennett but in the parish of Moulton, was also sold to V.E.T. in 1946, by Major Durham Matthews on very favourable terms. The dog world soon followed the example of the horse owners and recognised the benefits that could be achieved by research. A Canine Health Centre was established on this site in 1947. In 1948 V.E.T. changed its name to the Animal Health Trust. The Queen, who had made several visits over the years, became Patron in 1959. Thus the Trust had two research stations, The Small Animal Centre at Lanwades Park and the Equine Research Station at Newmarket. A new Small Animal Centre was built at Lanwades Park and opened in 1969 by HRH The Princess Royal. In 1981 an Equine Virology Unit was opened by the Queen at Lanwades Park.

1992 was the Trust's golden jubilee year and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner was installed in a new building at Lanwades Park. A decision to move all the staff and activities carried out at Balaton Lodge, Newmarket to Lanwades Park resulted in a staged relocation. A new Centre for Small Animal Studies was opened in 1996, followed by a Centre for Equine Studies in 1997. In the same year administrative offices and the Library were relocated into the first floor of Lanwades Hall. The Grade II listed buildings in the old stable yard were converted to the John McDougal Visitors Centre and opened in 1998. Lastly a new Pathology building, under construction throughout 2000 is due to be completed early in 2001. Thus at the Lanwades Park site in the year 2000 the Animal Health Trust now operates an internationally recognised, multi-disciplinary centre employing nearly 200 personnel, over 40 of which are veterinary surgeons.

2000 Katherine Whitwell

A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival 2000 Designed by ArtAtac