The Houghton Trust - Promoting research into poultry diseases

Avian Pathology journal and the Houghton Trust:
a brief history

This note, written by Peter Biggs, the founding Chairman of the Houghton Trust, provides a brief historical background to the connection between the journal Avian Pathology,the World Veterinary Poultry Association and the Houghton Trust, which may be unfamiliar to newer WVPA members.

Origins of Avian Pathology

Avian Pathology was established as the journal of the WVPA in 1972. Initially the production office was in the then Yugoslavia and the editorial office in Czechoslovakia. Professor J. V. Klimeš established the journal and became the first Editor-in-Chief, but gave up the responsibility because of ill health. Peter Biggs was appointed Editor-in-Chief and established the Editorial Office in the UK.
It was soon apparent that it was difficult and impractical to have the editorial and production offices in different countries. A suitably experienced small Printing Company was found in England and the publishing was moved there in 1974. The editorial and publishing costs were supported by subscriptions to the journal. In 1973 the WVPA Bureau lent the journal £800 to assist in its establishment and in 1975 to underwrite the Journal for the sum of £1000. However, neither sum was taken up and were small compared to the publishing costs of the journal. Therefore, with the agreement of the Bureau a charitable limited company, Avian Pathology Ltd, was formed in 1980 to financially protect the editors and Bureau members in the event of failure and to remove liability to tax.

The Houghton Trust

From that time Avian Pathology has continued to be the official journal of the WVPA but is owned by the charitable company which later changed its name to the Houghton Trust Ltd. This means that the Trustees of the Houghton Trust Ltd and its Committee of Management are responsible for publishing the journal and for its financial security. In 1991, with the agreement of the WVPA Bureau, publication was put in the hands of a professional publishing house. Since then, it and its successors have published the journal on behalf of the Houghton Trust Ltd with whom the contract for publishing the journal is made. The Trust was named after the Houghton Poultry Research Station at Houghton Grange (see photographs) which at the time was the leading poultry research laboratory in the UK. The editorial policy remains with the Houghton Trust Ltd and the Editor-in-Chief and Associate Editors. However, it has been, and is the intent and policy of the Trustees, to consult and inform the WVPA wherever possible on appropriate matters. Avian Pathology is well established as a leader amongst avian and veterinary science journals.

Photo of Houghton Grange showing the laboratories attached to the side

Houghton Grange from the gardens with laboratories attached.

Houghton Grange with front door and porch used for the original logo

The front door and porch of Houghton Grange from which the design for the original logo of the Trust was taken.

Activities of the Trust

The Trust now has capital and income that allows it to support a number of charitable activities. Currently, the Trust supports promising young researchers throughout the world to make short training visits to laboratories and to attend appropriate scientific meetings, in countries other than their own, to further their knowledge in avian disease. It also sponsors the Avian Pathology (formerly Houghton) Lecture at WVPA Congresses and provides funding for short term UK-based research projects in avian diseases. (See elsewhere on the website).

Peter M. Biggs F.R.S.

Founding Chairman of the Houghton Trust Ltd.