50 years on: Dental School reunion - Saturday 6 October 2012

On Saturday 6 October 2012, a group of Dental School alumni gathered on campus for a reunion of their former department. The folllowing write-up has been kindly sent to us by alumnus Geof Wright (1967, BDS Dentistry).

Dental School reunion - Geof Wright and friends

An investigation into the long-term effects of four and a half years at the University of Sheffield and the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital on a group of English and Welsh school children

Geof Wright. BDS Sheff., FDSRCS., D.Orth.RCS.Eng.,
Dip.Ed. (Higher Ed.)Univ.of Sydney


It was found that all members of the group had thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being dental students and it had long-term benefits for their careers. No one had changed to another profession.

Evidence was taken anecdotally from those attending a reunion at the Dental School, Saturday 6th October 2012. After being welcomed by Professor Ian Brook and other members of staff they escorted us on a pre-arranged tour around the Dental School. The elderly group members may have looked disorientated before the tour but more so afterwards; having seen the changes that had occurred during the past fifty years, and great expansion to the School. Our dental year was only 28 students compared with 70-80 now, plus the same number of postgraduates and staff. Thirteen attended the reunion during the day, two more joined us for the evening meal.

Dental School students - Geof Wright


28 schoolchildren registered in year one, a full year 45 weeks, five and a half days a week of dental mechanics in Western Bank. We were excellent in the Students’ Union Bar, expert knowledge was gained in playing snooker. Messrs Schofield, Wood and White tutored us and we were allowed onto the Prosthetics Clinic under the eye of Mr Turrell carrying out the clinical and technical work for a patient. Mr Smith, Dental Hospital Prosthetic Consultant noted that Ging Smith (no relation) had an excellent memory having heard him recite “Eskimo Nell “ at a previous Smoker. Charles Toh’s outstanding technical ability extended the marking scale used and his work has been used to demonstrate to many following years of students.

The year working and socialising together soon formed a close-knit group, block voting, it elected a first year to be student president, R.R. (Fred) Hartley, over the more senior students. ‘Fred’ gained his nickname as school bookie at Manchester Grammar School.

Following our visit to the Dental Hospital during the morning of 6th October, The Fox and Duck, Students’ Union and a walk through the centre of Sheffield we were more disorientated with the many changed which had taken place. In the evening we had a meal at the Hilton Hotel where we were joined by our only academic Dr Tony Tanner PhD Sheffield and Ken Green who had learnt the dark arts of Endodontics.

Ultimate results
The University of Sheffield and the Dental School had overcome the self abuse of the student year and had produced a very good vintage between 1962 and 1967

This write-up has been edited from the original supplied by alumnus Geof Wright (1967, BDS Dentistry).
Photos also courtesy of Geof Wright.