General News

Bristol Dental School; Moving On…

After several years of background planning the Bristol Dental School is finally due to close its doors to dental students and move to a new site for the start of the academic term in September 2023. The new location is 1 Trinity Quay, which is situated in  Bristol’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, near the University’s proposed new Enterprise Campus. It is a stand-alone office block which formerly housed the RBS arm of NatWest Bank and is currently being converted into a state of the art dental teaching facility spread over 5 floors by a team of just under 200 contractors. The building conversion is progressing well and is almost halfway completed. The total area of the new school is 7,300 sq.metres and there will be approximately 130 dental chairs.

Building when occupied by RBS

The current Dental School was opened officially on 10th April 1940 at a total cost of £83,000 and a planned intake of 25 dental students per annum. The new school has a budget of some £35m and the first year’s intake will be just over 100!

Most members I speak to all seem to have exactly the same question: “What’s happening to the original site, where we all trained and graduated?” Well, it’s a simple question with a very complicated answer but at the moment  its fate really hasn’t been fully decided. The issue is complicated because the original site estate has multiple landlords and not all of the buildings are in a great state of repair. What has been said publicly is that it is likely that some research will remain but what is certain is that students will have a new home from 4th September 2023.

Artist impression of the new School Reception Area

On a completely different subject; many older past students passing through “Op-tech” will fondly remember Douglas Dobson, affectionately known by everyone as ‘Dobbie’, who arrived in Bristol as a prosthetic technician in 1949 and rose to become chief instructor by the time he retired in 1988. He celebrated his 99th birthday on 1st October 2022 and was especially pleased to receive a photograph and letter from the Queen earlier that year on the occasion of his 70th wedding anniversary! What a marvellous achievement and I’m sure there are many of us whose skills with a wax-knife are, for the most part, down to the excellent instruction and encouragement of Dobbie and the late Ivor Robinson!

Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2023.

Gary Mendham