There has been a dental hospital in Birmingham since 1858. While it was not the first Dental Hospital in this country, being preceeded by an Institute for the Diseases of teeth founded by Snell, Saunders and Harrison in 1839 and the London Dental Dispensary founded by Fox in 1855, it is certainly the oldest now in this country, and possibly the world.
The hospital's founder was Samuel Adams Parker, the son of S.W. Langston Parker, a well known Birmingham surgeon. The teaching of dental students formally took place in 1880 and the Dental Students' Society became properly organised in 1886. The teaching was organised with Queen's college and three separate professorships were created Dental Surgery and Pathology, Dental Anatomy and Physiology and Dental Mechanics. Queen's college was amalgamated with Mason's college in 1892 and this led to further expansion of the dental departments.
Mason's college became The University of Birmingham in 1900 and it was empowered to confer the degrees of Master of Dental Surgery and Bachelor of Dental Surgery as well as to grant Licences in Dental Surgery. In fact Birmingham was the first University to grant dental degrees.
The creation of the University brought the need for increased accommodation for patients and students. The School and Hospital moved to new premises on Great Charles Street.
Early history of Dentistry in Birmingham, along with a series of photographs of the old Schools and Hospitals.
The building outgrew its usefulness and plans were drawn up to build a new School and Hospital in 1955. The late Professor Alexander MacGregor, the then Director of Dental Studies and Mr H. Locksley Hare, the architect, visited many of the newer and outstanding schools in Europe. The design of the building incorporates many ideas acquired during these visits. The new building was opened in 1965 at a site next to the General Hospital (now Children's Hospital). This building was the sixth home of the Hospital and School.
Today, the School of Dentistry is a thriving instituition having over 100 Dental, Therapy, and Biomaterial students per year. There are a large number of postgraduate research students together with support staff present in the school. The school continues to grow and is well placed to meet the demands and challenges of the coming years.