The Oldest Dental Practice in England

Euston Place Dental Practice in Leamington Spa, the oldest dental practice in England!

Dentists are not the most favourite place to visit but how old is the oldest dental practice in Royal Leamington Spa.

The oldest practice in England is recognised as a practice currently called White Friars House and before that it was known as Messrs Bullin, reflecting the name of its founder – Frederick Bullin. Originally from Bath, Messrs Bullin established the practice in 1856.

Now then, we might have a winner because Mr John Hordern (who incidentally was born in Rhode Island USA) left No. 2 Spencer Street and moved to 1, Euston Place in July 1849 (Leamington Courier 21st July 1849 page 2). He was still at No.1 in 1854 but then operating his dental practice in July 1856 from 13, Euston Place.

Today, dentistry is still being practiced there under the guise of Euston Place Dental Practice. In going back to 1856 there were two Hordern practices in the town with J.H. Hordern , John’s Brother, later operating out of No.1 Spencer Street.

John Hordern’s family had a couple of highlights, one wanted, the other, undoubtedly, unwanted.

In 1864 the son, Charles, went out with some chums only to be accidentally shot with a shotgun. Only wounded however, including his pride, undoubtedly.
Then on the 28th June 1866, Priscilla, Louisa, daughter, got married. Church bells all round!

Sadly, on the 28th May 1879 John Hordern died in Torquay, aged 66.

It would appear, from the Dentist Register for 1887, Dr. John Ross Watt became a junior partner to John Hordern on or around 14th November 1878 after starting to practice after qualifying before July 22nd 1878.

 

 

John Ross Watt b 1843 and Jane Warden Ritchie b 1843 were married 10 June 1867, St Cuthberts Church, Edinburgh. Their first child, a son, was born in Edinburgh and but died in infancy.

They were living at 18 Forfield Place, Royal Leamington Spa around the time of 9th June 1869.

 

 

The family photograph of both parents and seven children.
James Downie Ross Watt b 1869
Alfred Henry Ross Watt b 1870
Lillian Mary Ross Watt b 1872
Jessie Campbell Ross Watt b 1874
Andrew D. Ross Watt b 1880
Eleanor Jane Ross Watt b 1881
George Douglas Ross Watt b 1883 d 1970

 

 

So what happened after poor Dr. John Hordern’s demise. Well, Dr John Ross Watt felt that he had to assure the patients of the practice that all was well and excellent service would continue and so adverts were placed in local newspapers for some time afterwards as can be seen.

 

 

At some stage it was thought that Dr John Ross Watt was dentist to Her Imperial Majesty, Queen Victoria but the author cannot, at this stage verify that. He certainly had contacts with the Palace as well as the Duchess of York in 1906.

Some time on or around 1896 the family moved to 13, Euston Place presumably partly due to the ever growing family.

One of his sons Dr. James Downie Ross-Watt, who was born 9 June 1869 and his oldest son, had started his dentistry studies at the tender age of 15 under the tutorship of his father.

He changed his name to Ross-Watt, presumably so that patients wouldn’t make the mistake thinking he was his father and go to the wrong practice! Whilst he emigrated to South Africa in 1893 he was still registered as a dentist at 13, Euston Place in 1904.

This is Dr. James Downie Ross-Watt who became a noted Bagpipe player.

This is John Ross Watt, proudly standing on the steps of 13, Euston Place, his dental practice.

 

 

and today.

 

John Ross Watt spent his retirement years, playing chess at the Men’s Club, across the road from his home. At the time of John Ross Watt’s death in 1916, his residence is recorded still as 13 Euston Place, Leamington Spa. The same applied for his wife, Jane, upon her death in 1918.

On John Ross Watt’s retirement, his youngest son George Douglas Ross Watt took over the practice at 13 Euston Place. However George Douglas Ross Watt emigrated to the United States of America in 1934 with his wife, Annie. It is not known why they emigrated or who had the practice after that date. However he was still recorded in Kelly’s Directory as being at the Practice as late as 1945!

The following are dates that refer to changes in dentists at 13, Euston Place as found in the local Library records.

 

  • July 1856 – Dr. John Hordern.
  • November 1878 – Dr. J. Hordern + Dr. John Ross Watt.
  • May 1879 Dr. J. Hordern dies. Dr. J. Ross Watt takes over the practice.
  • 1892 – Dr. J. Ross Watt + Dr. James Downie Ross Watt
  • 1904 – Dr. J. Ross Watt + Dr. J. D. Ross-Watt (Ross-Watt by this time)
  • 1908 – Dr. J. Ross Watt + Dr. George Douglas Ross Watt
  • 1912 – Dr. G. D. Ross Watt (also had a practice at 77, Priory Road, Kenilworth)
  • 1937 – Dr. G. D. Ross Watt + Dr. Basil J. C. Jones
  • 1945 – Dr. G. D. Ross Watt + Dr. B. J. C. JonesThere is a gap in information
  • 1948 – Dr. Stanley A. Quarterman + Dr. B. J. C. Jones
  • 1959 – Dr. S. A. Quarterman + Dr. B. J. C. Jones + Dr. Thomas C. Craven
  • 1961 – Dr. B. J. C. Jones + Dr. T. C. Craven + Dr. J. G. C. Brownlee
  • 1963 – Dr. B. J. C. Jones + Dr. G. S. Jones + Dr. Hunter D. M. Spokes + Dr. J. G. C. Brownlee
  • 1967 – Dr. B. J. C. Jones + Dr. G. S. Jones + Dr. I.P. Kruys + Dr. J. G. C. Brownlee
  • 1968 – Dr. B. J. C. Jones + Dr. I.P. Kruys + Dr. C.K. Clark
  • 1969 – Dr. B. J. C. Jones + Dr. I.P. Kruys + Dr. C.K. Clark  + Dr. I.T. Knowles
  • 1970 – Dr. B. J. C. Jones + Dr. C.K. Clark  + Dr. I.T. Knowles + Dr. W.D. Slora + Dr. G. A. Broome
  • 1971 – Dr. C.K. Clark  + Dr. I.T. Knowles + Dr. W.D. Slora + Dr. G. A. Broome
  • 1972 – Dr. C.K. Clark  + Dr. I.T. Knowles + Dr. W.D. Slora + Dr. G. A. Broome + Dr. Jane Broome
  • 1973 – Dr. C.K. Clark  + Dr. I.T. Knowles + Dr. W.D. Slora + Dr. G. A. Broome + Dr. P. Watson
  • 1974 – Dr. C.K. Clark  + Dr. W.D. Slora + Dr. G. A. Broome + Dr. P. Watson
  • 1975 – Dr. C.K. Clark  + Dr. W.D. Slora + Dr. G. A. Broome + Dr. P. Watson + Dr. Andrew. Skilbeck
  • 1989 – Dr. W.D. Slora + Dr. G. A. Broome + Dr. P. Watson + Dr. A. Skilbeck
  • 2004 – Practice became Euston Place Dental Practice
  • 2024 – Dr. Paul Mulligan + Dr. Doug Watt + Dr. Vinnie Thandi + Dr. Charles Buckle + 3 Associate Dentists

 

What of today? Well the practice is still there. Now called Euston Place Dental Practice and it has grown from those early days both in the number of dental practitioners and the different types of treatment provided.

There are, today, 4 principal Dentists and 3 Associate Dentists and a team of Hygienists, Dental Nurses and Customer Co-ordinators to make life a little easier when you have to visit them. A long way from what to us must have been a very different experience in those early days.

My thanks to Lyndene Butt Adamson in South Africa for all the info she freely sent on Dr. John Ross Watt and his and her family. Photograph of recent staff standing outside No. 13 by kind permission of Euston Place Dental Practice.

Book and appointment today by calling us at 01926 422509 and become a part of our rich legacy of excellence in dental health care.

Opening Times

Mon – 8.15am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm Tue – 8.15am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 6.00pm Wed – 8.15am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm Thu – 8.15am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 6.00pm Fri – 8.15am to 1.30pm