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Call me Doctor!

It has just been brought to my attention by Edward Shaw, one of our alumni, that a member of his graduating year of 1962 was centrally involved in campaigning for dentists to be allowed to use the courtesy title of ‘Doctor’. After twenty years of active effort by Dr Douglas Pike the General Dental Council agreed to this in November 1995.

One significance of this has been that many dentists, particularly the more recent graduates, automatically assume this title without being aware of when and why it came into use in the United Kingdom. In addition, many will not have been aware that the prime mover in achieving this is a Bristol Dental School graduate and that November 2019 was the 25th anniversary of the ‘Call Me Doctor’ movement.

Bristol dental ‘Doctors’ therefore, can if inclined, raise a retrospective 25th Anniversary glass to Dr Douglas Pike!

Ken Marshall,

Chairman,

Bristol Dental Alumni Association.

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Year of ’69, 50th Reunion

Read the whole report by clicking here

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In Memoriam

It is with sadness we have to report of the death of Francis “Frankie” Poku (BDS 1965) on 26th January 2019. He will be buried in Ghana on 23rd March 2019. The photo shows him presenting a plaque to Jonathan Sandy at our centenary meeting in November 2012.

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A little bit of personal history by Chris Stephens

Reunions are more enjoyable as one gets older. No longer does one have to listen to how wonderful everyone else’s children are doing at school, university, or the City and can relax and talk about former shared times. While most dental school have alumni  associations their reunions take a variety of forms. As far as I am aware in the UK there are only two reunions of formerdental staff. There is our own which meets every couple of months now centred on the Shakespeare pub in Redland. It is not exclusive to  former Bristol dental staff  and graduates are welcome. The other is theEmbryo Club which meets twice yearly in Whitehall London and is of much older vintage having been established in in the late 1940s by notable Guys Dental staff.

Whilst Embryo Club lunches are not exclusive to Guys alumni it is rather old fashioned in that joining is by invitation only and it has only been agreed in the past few months to admit women! (It was after all only 1948 that the Guys Dental School admitted women to the dental course  whereas in enlightened Bristol  we had done so from 1909; the first woman to qualify in dentistry being Marjorie White in 1915).

But I digress. Having become a new member of the said Embryo club (don’t ask about the origins of the name it is a long story)  I found myself in the august company of my former teachers, notably Jack Rowe Professor of Conservative Dentistry and later Dean of the School, now in his 90s.  He had been taught by David Robinson who had qualified 4 years before him in 1944. This was the era of “see one do one teach one” where promising students on qualification were invited to join the staff as part time demonstrators. DavidRobinson had by this time become a part-time lecturer and was busy building up his practice in south London which Jack Rowe soon joined in 1949. In 1965, the year in which I qualified, Jack completed his MDS, the first Guy’s graduate  to do so, and was appointed  to a full time senior lecturer post there.This left left a  vacancy in  David Robinson’s practice which my wife and I were invited to join.

Another member of the Embryo Club present at my first lunch  was BruceRobinson, who I remembered as an 11 year old while  I was working at his father’s practice.  Very recently Bruce, who turned out to be the third generation of dentist in his family,  presented me with a photograph of his grandfather’s year of qualification in 1924. As this was from Bristol he pointed out that my arrival at Bristol in 1971 had completed the Robinson “teaching circle”. 

Some of the other names of those who qualified in 1924 can be arrived at by searching early  Dentists Registers. Almost all of those who I have identified had taken the LDS Bristol or the LDSRCS (Eng)  for although the BDS (UBrist) had been established  in 1909  in order to become a BDS student one had to have matriculated which was still a rarity at that time. It is intriguing to realise that the Class of 1924 would have been taught, among others,    

by  George Fawn who finally retired in 1947. His eponymous prize in Childrens’ Dentistry is still awarded today. George  had been the first to qualify with the BDS Bristol in 1912.  However this was not the first Bristol BDS degree to be awarded. That honour goes jointly to Messrs Kelsey and Lennox who a year earlier had been examined by Sir Charles Tomes the then external. However both had achieved the licentiate of one of the Royal Colleges several years before; Kelsey obtained the LDS RCPS Glasgow in 1898 and Lennox the LDSRCS England in 1903. William Lennox would remain on the school staff until 1941.

 But who then is the much older suited gentleman in the back row of the photograph? At first I had assumed that he was one of the class’ teachers but why only one when there were at least three clinical teachers by this time? More likely it is William Herbert Phillips who had qualified LDSRCS (Eng) in 1898  in the days before one needed a dental qualification to practise. He then seems to have been moved, like others of that generation,  to obtain the LDS Bristol in 1924. He was still practising in Paignton in 1954.

REFERENCES

Saunders CJG.  The University of Bristol Dental School and Hospital. University of Bristol, 1964

Saunders CJG. The United Bristol Hospitals. Board of the United Bristol Hospitals, 1965

Smith GM. A history of the Bristol Royal Infirmary. J W Arrowsmith Ltd., Bristol. 1917

Stephens CD. A history of the University of Bristol Dental School and its site. Bristol Dental Alumni Association. 2010. ISBN 978-0-9549861-5-5

Stoy PJ. The  Bristol Dental  School  1874-1940. British Dental Journal 1947, 82: 141-142

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” Where’s Derek?”

Many of us will remember  Arthur Darling’s loud enquiry, more of a command,  usually coming from one of the lecture theatres or from the Histopath lab on Wednesday mornings.  Derek  patiently played  the  dental “Jeeves” to Arthur,  always patient, helpful and competent.  Since his retirement  several years ago Derek has been living in Hereford but still visits his sister in Bristol occasionally where it was my good luck to run into  him. (It is one of the pleasures of retirement to run into former colleagues). Derek  was just the same though like may of us feeling the effects of anno domini. He told me he now has two mobility scooters; one for daily use and the other for Grand Prix events. Great to meet up  Derek!

Chris Stephens

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Professor David Berry, 1921-2017

It is with much regret we report the recent death of Professor David Berry.

Chris Stephens offers a remembrance:

David Berry was born in Bridgwater Somerset in 1921 and in 1941 joined the RAF, completing his war service in October 1945 as a Flying Instructor at the Elementary Flying Training School, Burnaston, Derbyshire. Even though the photograph of his Tiger Moth was later to become a permanent fixture on the wall of his office, he never flew again. Instead, he entered the Bristol Dental School with the then small year of mainly ex-Service men and is remembered for riding his motor cycle around the “Cons Room” for a bet.

Dave qualified LDS and BDS in 1949, gaining the Dental Gold Medal for his year and then undertook the resident house officer post in the adjacent Bristol Royal Infirmary during which time his carved initials were added to the wooden Victorian dental chair which was kept in the House Officers’ room. Following the publication of the Teviot Report in 1946 and the establishment of the National Health Service, there was rapid expansion in dental undergraduate numbers, which in Bristol increased fourfold over the next 20 years. David Berry, already identified by Arthur Darling, Director of Dental Studies, as an outstanding student, was now appointed Lecturer in Dental Prosthetics working under Professor Chick. Dave completed his MDS in 1952 but realising that he required a doctorate to progress further in an academic career, he resigned in 1953 to spend time undertaking research in the Department of Anatomy. He had by now joined the newly established British Society for the Study of Prosthetic Dentistry of which he would become President ten years later. Soon after gaining his PhD in 1959, Professor Chick left Bristol to join the staff of the Royal Dental Hospital and in 1960 Dave was appointed Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Dental Prosthetics in the Department of Dental Surgery, working under the nominal direction of Professor Eric Bradford. It was only later that Dave became Professor and Head of the new Department of Dental Prosthetics and Orthodontics.

This rather old fashioned alliance between prosthetics and orthodontics, not abandoned in Bristol until the mid 1980s, was founded on the need that both specialties had for technical laboratory support and because Bristol dental technicians were employed by the University, the new Professor of Dental Prosthetics became responsible for thirty production technicians and 6 dental instructors. Soon however, a large discrepancy arose between University and NHS Technical salary scales. This, and the rapid expansion of Regional Hospital dental units, lead to an exodus of many highly skilled dental technicians from UK Dental Schools. Prolonged Union negotiations at Bristol eventually moved the technicians on to NHS-related salary scales but by this time there was a national shortage of trained dental technicians and the School had several long-standing vacancies which Dave was unable to fill. With the help of the Regional Dental Officer Tom Dowell, this serious problem was solved by the setting up of a Bristol based SW Regional Technical Training scheme which soon re-established a skilled and contented body of technicians in the School.

Arising from his earlier work in the Department of Anatomy, research in the Department now became focused on the interplay between dental occlusion and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. This coincided with the time in the early 1980s when visiting Americans were promoting their concepts of gnathology (described by a UK clinical scientist at the time as being too much “gnath” and not enough “ology”) with the result than many patients were persuaded by their well-meaning general dental practitioners to undergo extensive and expensive full mouth dental reconstruction with the aim of curing or preventing temporomandibular joint pain. The work of Dave and his postgraduates revealed the wide diurnal variation in dental occlusion which meant that there was no fixed intercuspal relationship upon which such  treatment could be based and full mouth rehabilitation soon fell out of favour in this country.

By this time Dave had been Dental Clinical Dean for four years where his courteous and quietly spoken advice counselled many a troubled student. Having acquired considerable managerial experience, he was now pressed to accept the poisoned chalice of Dean of the Faculty of Medicine with responsibility for a budget of £30M and the overall governance of the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary and Preclinical Sciences. Many senior colleagues in subsequent years would decline to take on this bed of nails yet Dave accepted the task with his usual quiet efficiency. His period in office saw increasing emphasis on continuing professional education  which lead to the establishment of Regional Postgraduate Medical and Dental Deans throughout the UK. On completion of his term as Dean of the Faculty, Dave was appointed Postgraduate Dental Dean for the South West Region. In the same year, he had the satisfaction of seeing two of his former lecturers gaining chairs; Professor Bob Yemm in Dundee, who like Dave would eventually become Dean of the Faculty there and Professor Chris Stephens in the new Department of Child Dental Health which Dave had worked so hard to establish. This brought Bristol’s departmental structure into line with all other UK dental schools. His three-year period as a notionally part-time Postgraduate Dean saw the introduction of vocational training courses for newly qualified dentists, a great increase in the number of courses for dental practitioners as well as an expansion of higher specialty training in the SW Region.

To his colleagues, Dave remained a kind but very private person. On the eve of his retirement he requested there be no presentation and no formal dinner but the timely intervention of his wife Liz ensured that an informal dinner was held with a few close friends and colleagues, which he greatly enjoyed. After he retired he and Liz moved to Exford where Dave became a full-time water bailiff. A fly fisherman of some repute this suited him perfectly with a house conveniently placed beside the River Exe and opposite the local pub.

David Berry died peacefully on 31st October 2017. He will be remembered by many generations of Bristol dental graduates as the quietly spoken, kindly and immensely knowledgeable clinician. His white-coated figure with the ever-present wax knife protruding from his breast pocket (complemented on the days of his temporomandibular joint clinic by a stethoscope hanging from his right hip pocket), will long be recalled by those who worked with him.

CDS

The family request any donations be made to the Somerset Wildlife Trust.

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Bob Yemm 1939 – 2017

Professor Bob Yemm, who died after a short illness on 15 February, was a distinguished clinician, scientist and teacher. Bob (as everyone knew him) qualified BDS from Bristol in 1961, the same year as his dentist wife Glenys.

In 1965 he gained a BSc honours degree in Physiology also from Bristol and added a PhD in 1969. He moved to Dundee in 1976 as Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Dental Prosthetics, coming with an established international record as a neurophysiologist. He was an immediate hit in Dundee with students, staff and patients for his calm and reassuring manner.

He was promoted to a personal chair in 1984 and led a department with a strong record of combining research and clinical expertise. Clinically, he will best be remembered for developing (along with the late Norman Duthie and Ken Sturrock) a technique of reliably producing replacement complete dentures. The replica record-block technique revolutionised replacement dentures and is now widely used within primary and secondary care.

Bob served as dean of Dundee Dental School from 1989 to 1993 and was efficient, fair and direct. Although Bob was a most gentle person, he was able to vigorously defend his department, school or discipline when necessary, and did so effectively. He was honoured to be made president of the BSSPD in 1994/5 and was made a Distinguished Scientist of the IADR in 1992 for his research in Prosthodontics.

Although always active in pursuing and encouraging research he was perhaps happiest when teaching and treating patients. He was loved by his patients and students for his kindness, care and great skill. His ability to reassure a nervous student was unsurpassed and many students felt that without his help and guidance they would never have qualified. Bob was also noted as the only member of staff of Dundee University who drove to work in a Bristol car! Occasionally, Bob would forget his pipe was still alight when wandering through the clinic to the amusement of everyone.

Bob retired from Dundee in 1999 but did not leave dentistry completely as he continued to work part time in specialist practice in Glasgow and provided some post graduate teaching. Glenys and he bought and renovated a possible Alexander “Greek” Thomson coastal home in Cove near Helensburgh where he was able to pursue his great passion for sailing.

Bob Yemm, despite his many talents, was a very modest man who was both inspiring and kindly. He will be remembered by many as a person who provided considerable help, both professionally and personally. Our condolences go to Glenys, son Richard and daughter Jane.

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Crispian Scully 1945 – 2017

With sadness we announce the death of Professor Crispian Scully CBE in London on 17th March.

Professor & Honorary Consultant Oral Medicine and Head of School at Bristol from 1988- 1993, Professor Scully went on to be the Dean at the Eastman Dental Institute (1993-2008).  During his career, he published more than 1100 papers, wrote 34 books and edited 11 more.

Our thoughts go to his wife and daughter.

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Merry Christmas!

The Chairman and Secretary, on behalf of the BDAA Committee, would like to wish all its members a verymerry-christmas-2016-small

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2015 Student Elective reports added (Updated):

BDAA are pleased to be able to support student elective projects.

Please click here to view them.