General News

Year 1976 Interim Reunion

Year 1976 operates on a five- yearly reunion cycle, when quite mysteriously, like palolo worms reacting to a certain phase of the moon, and usually around November, a crowd of dentists converge on one of Bristol’s hotels. This time however, global disruptions caused by someone, somewhere dropping a bat in the soup, meant that we would normally have had to wait for a period of ten years to elapse in order to put our reunions back on track, or adapt somehow. We chose to adapt rather than face the extra costs of having name badges made for the next reunion. Change was necessary, so we chose September and quite logically, Wedmore. This rural village may not seem like the hub of the universe we usually choose but it is possibly the hub of traditional cider production in the South-West.

The venue, Compton House, was discovered by Carol Robinson who also organised everything for us, and the warm weather meant that we were able to sit outside in a rambling garden setting and enjoy locally produced homemade food. Our traditional series of talks with slides was abandoned and replaced by an informal chat session with talks limited to five minutes each. For this, we took our wine glasses with us indoors and sat around a huge mahogany table, much like 10 Downing Street. The talks started off with an introduction by Carol in which she mentioned the the empty seats, those of Reg Andlaw, Robin Matthews and Graham Charlton. A suitably reflective moment then followed with a piece of classical guitar music played for us by Roger Robinson.

Talks were varied and included news from Chris Stephens and Ken Marshall. Most of us had something to report and the general atmosphere was relaxed and convivial. It was clear that this interim reunion was a welcome change enjoyed by everyone. Who knows, perhaps Root ‘76 might be on the verge of changing its reunion habits, especially since our next scheduled reunion will mark our 50th year of dentistry.

Geoffrey van Beek


Photograph, Root 76 dentists and partners. Dentists back row from left to right: Ken Marshall, Chris Stephens, Paul; Baines, Niel Mc Donald, Derek Fieldhouse, Frank Wood, Hugh Devlin, Peter Duke, Carol Robinson, Phil Key, Roger Robinson. Dentists front row from left to right: Geoffrey van Beek, Raman Bedi, Caroline Baines, Jacky Thackeray, Jane Wood, Anne Muirhead, Louise Sowden ,Bertie Jukes, Claire Foster


General News

Bristol graduate honoured:

Professor Helen Rodd (BDS Hons. 1988) has been awarded an MBE for services to NHS dentistry. She currently holds the post of Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry at Sheffield University.

General News

In memoriam

It is with much regret that I have to pass on the sad news of the death of Robin Matthews.

Robin died on August 16th after a short illness. His funeral was a held near Durham, where he had lived for the last several years with a limited number of guests due to COVID-19 restrictions.

You may read his obituary by clicking here.

General News

Bristol Graduate New Dean at Faculty of Dental Surgery

Mr Matthew Garrett qualified from the University of Bristol in 2001, attained his FDSRCS Rest Dent (England) in 2010 after following the specialist training programme in Bristol. He was appointed Consultant in Restorative Dentistry (Prosthodontics) at the Eastman Dental Hospital in 2013, having previously been a Consultant at King’s College London. In June of this year he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England for a three year term.

General News Uncategorised

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,


Bristol Dental Alumni Association.

General News

Graham Charlton: Obituary

Graham Charlton  BDS (Dunelm) 1958, MDS (Bristol) 1970 

Graham, was born on October 15th 1928 in Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland into a mining family. At first, due to financial constraints, Graham trained as a school teacher at St John’s College, York. He was then called up to National Service in the Royal Ulster Rifles, and was made a Sergeant in the Education Corps in Hanover, Germany. 

After a couple of years teaching art, woodwork and games in Morpeth, Graham got a place in 1952 at the Dental School, King’s College, Durham University, situated in Newcastle upon Tyne, then thriving under the Deanship of Sir Robert Bradlaw. 

In his first (pre-dental) year Graham needed to fund himself and worked at a bakery in the early mornings before lectures and played semi-professional football in the Northern Alliance League at weekends. He won a state scholarship to fund studies from his second year onwards. 

Undergraduate dentistry went well, with Graham taking an active role in student sports and politics and collecting several medals for academic achievement. He married Stella in 1956.

In 1958 Graham graduated BDS and became partner in a general dental practice in Torquay, Devon, where he began to specialise in crown and bridge work. From 1964 Graham returned to academic life at Bristol University to teach Conservative Dentistry, graduating MDS in 1970. The University of Bristol MDS, in addition to being a higher research degree, included a clinical component which was accepted by the Royal Colleges as an acceptable equivalent to the FDSRCS for the award of consultant status. Graham then became the Consultant Senior Lecturer in charge of Conservative Dentistry, and later Clinical Dean. During this time, Graham did the research into the design of post-retained porcelain crowns that led to his MDS dissertation and the invention of the successful Charlton Post – made of stainless steel and with an integrated core. The post itself was cylindrical rather than the customary tapered cast post alternative, and this not only avoided the wedge effect that could lead to longitudinal root fracture, but gave better retention.

In the late 1960’s air-driven handpieces were just becoming available and, whilst other clinical staff thought that they were too dangerous for students to use in their early years, Graham was firmly of the opinion that they should be used from the beginning of operative techniques teaching as they would be the instruments used on patients in the clinic. This was put into practice both in the Op.Techs. Lab and the Cons.Clinic from 1968 onwards, and was a Charlton principle carried forward well after Graham had left Bristol.

Much later, the same principle was used when Bristol became the first Dental School in the UK to teach undergraduates in custom-designed full dental surgeries which could be instantly transfigured to left-handed use if required rather than in the previous tiny cubicles working from instrument cabinets,with materials only available from a central store and no facility for teaching four-handed dentistry. 

In the early 1970’s staff accommodation in the Dental School was at a premium and this particularly related to research facilities. The solution was seen to be the renting of accommodation in an adjacent office building (Priory House later to become Manulife House). None of the departments other than Conservative Dentistry wanted to be decanted into a building that necessitated an outdoor walk in all weathers. Graham, however, saw it as the ideal opportunity to establish a proper research facility, and to achieve this end, the putative staff rooms were designed to be minimal in size to leave enough space for the desired research laboratory. Also, Graham had it in mind that if there were to be a future extension on the original Dental School site, the plans would have to include this laboratory and its equipment. This eventually came about with the building of the 1985 extension on Upper Maudlin Street where a whole floor was devoted to staff rooms, a well-equipped laboratory for materials testing, an engineering workshop, a drawing office and a photographic studio/darkroom.

Graham continued his research in the Manulife House laboratory and successfully marketed the resultant Charlton Post and Core. Its success locally was reasonably good, but the requirement for strict instrumentation use plus care and attention to the step-by-step procedure was, in the end, too much for many dentists not blessed with his degree of patience or manual dexterity. He did not suffer fools gladly but was universally liked and admired  within the Bristol Dental School.

He often referred to his days at Bristol as the happiest in his life. He lived just outside the city in the beautiful countryside of Backwell with his wife Stella and his three children, and could pursue his precision woodworking, painting and gardening talents to his heart’s content. 

Later, when he took up the chair at Edinburgh University in 1978, and also became Dean of Dentistry, he once again raised the standards of dentistry from basic, to above average, and inspired students to pursue excellence in their work. As ever, he encouraged his staff to question all aspects of the accepted wisdom in their researches, as he did himself, and was always happy to contest his thoughts in the national arena. He was never afraid to stand up for his principles when he felt he was justifiably in the right. 

Graham continued actively to research dental materials, to teach, and was heavily involved with national professional administration, as well as wasting a great deal of time in planning a new Dental School and Hospital for Edinburgh that, in the end, never became a reality due to last-minute ‘cuts’! 

He stood out in that he was not just a brilliant clinician, but could draw on his teaching education to put his expertise across to students in an inspiring and lucid manner. Having ‘come up through the ranks’ as it were, he brought with him an unique individuality of thought and action which set him apart from most of his academic colleagues. He distinguished himself in having all the right qualities for the job and consequently scaled the heights of academic and practical dentistry. He espoused the concepts of Prof Veldkamp of the Netherlands in the design of full gold crowns with reduced occlusal surface width and the ideal hygienic bridge concept, and is also remembered for his whistle-stop tours of the UK to give postgraduate lectures on advanced restorative dentistry. Apart from lecturing, Graham could speak ‘off the cuff’ to great effect, and was often approached to give an after-dinner speech during the meal even without prior notice.

In 1992 Graham retired and moved to Bearsden near Glasgow to help out with his daughter’s newly arrived children and then, as these grew up, moved to York after a gap of fifty years to resume old friendships, and make some new ones. 

In 2005 Stella died, and a few years later Graham began to show signs of dementia secondary to cerebrovascular disease. From 2013 he lived in residential care in Newcastle upon Tyne near to his two sons. Graham Charlton died on February 1st 2020 after a series of strokes. 

The above illustrates the lasting impression that Graham left on the Bristol and Edinburgh Dental Schools, the staff and the students who benefited from his tutelage, but also how the generations that followed also benefited in the years after he retired.

Geoffrey van Beek

Bruce Charlton 

Ken Marshall.

General News

In memoriam

It is with great sadness I have to report the death of Graham Charlton who passed away on the evening of Friday 31st January 2020.

The funeral will be held on Wednesday 19th February at 2pm
St. Bartholomew’s Parish Church, 3 Station Road, Benton, Newcastle upon Tyne NE12 9NQ

General News

Class of ’74, 45th Reunion Report

The 45th Reunion of the class of 1974 took place on Thursday 7th November at the River Station restaurant in Bristol. Twenty of us ( plus nine other halves) gathered for a highly enjoyable lunch. It was much appreciated that some had travelled long distances to be there, even as far away as Australia – a long way to come for a lunch!

We began by an update of the class of ’74 who were not able to be at the lunch and a toast was made to absent friends. We then enjoyed a leisurely meal catching up with each other’s lives. The fact that we are retired, and appear to be enjoying the freedom that offers, no doubt contributed to the relaxed and convivial atmosphere. Many of those present thought it would be a good idea to meet more often, certainly before 2024.

Ang Cropper

General News

In memoriam

Hilary Tointon (nee Baynes) 1962-2019

Hilary graduated from Bristol Dental School in 1985 and worked in the south of England before establishing her own dental practice, “Teeth on The Heath” in the Canford Heath area of Poole.

She retired in 2015 following her diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer and was able to enjoy her remaining time to the full.

Hilary died peacefully in Forest Holme Hospice on Monday 21st October 2019, aged 57 years. Her husband Mark and their much-loved children Jamie and Lily were with her.

General News

Bristol students win Future of Dentistry award!

Huge congratulations to Tilly Houston and Hannah Wilkins for winning Best Dental Elective 2019 at the Future of Dentistry Awards in London this past weekend. The Future of Dentistry Awards acknowledge the talent and the contribution of inspiring dental students and professionals across the United Kingdom, and provide a number of awards to recognise student and professional achievements in dentistry.  Prof Robinson commented, “This is fantastic news and reflects just as well on the School as it already does on both Hannah and Tilly. Very well done indeed!“.

Hannah and Tilly’s Evidence Summary investigated whether carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide is more successful as a vital tooth whitening agent.
Well done to both!