London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Bermondsey 1925

Report on the sanitary condition of the Borough of Bermondsey for the year 1925

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Among the post-war developments which have come to the
front is the question of the prevention and treatment of dental
diseases. There were several factors which caused the Council
to consider the advisability of providing a dentist with a fullyequipped
dental surgery. The London County Council had provision
for attending to the teeth of children at their schools, but
there was no provision whatever for attending to pregnant and
nursing mothers or children under five years of age in the
Borough. There was also a singular lack of private qualified
dentists practising in the Borough, and the only gentlemen who
could come under this designation were to be found at London
The first experiment in dentistry for Maternity and Child
Welfare cases was provided by Mrs. Vaughan Nash at Oxley
Street Centre in 1919 Here a part-time lady dentist had one or
two sessions a week while the Centre was still a voluntary one.
This was most successful, and it was thought that the work might
be taken up by the Borough, and made available for all cases
which came under the Maternity and Child Welfare Act.
In 1920 Mr. Grantley Smith was appointed whole-time
Municipal Dental Surgeon. He was provided with a dental
mechanic, dental nurse, and fully-equipped dental surgery, at 98,
Rotherhithe New Road. His primary duty was to look after the
teeth of children of pre-school age, children of school age who
needed urgent treatment, expectant and nursing mothers and
tuberculosis cases. Owing to the dearth of qualified dentists in
the Borough, it was also decided to provide for the treatment of
the less wealthy patients in the Borough who did not come under
any of these categories. These were known as public health
patients, because the authority for the provision of dental treatment
for them was authorised by Section 75 of the Public Health
Act. This necessitated the appointment of a second dental
The treatment was continued at 98, Rotherhithe New Road,
until May, 1924, when the dental surgery was transferred to 110,
Grange Road. It was felt, at the time, that this position was