University of Edinburgh

Royal Dick School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, commonly referred to as the Dick Vet, is the veterinary school of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Professor David Argyle has been head of the school and Dean of Veterinary Medicine since 1 November 2011. Originally called the Highland Society’s Veterinary School, Edinburgh, the Dick Vet, as it came to be known, was established by William Dick, a former student of the anatomist John Barclay of the College of Surgeons. The first regular classes at the school were begun in November 1823, although lectures to small groups of students had been provided for four years prior to this date. The school became part of the University of Edinburgh in 1951. In 2011 the Summerhall site was vacated and the staff and students relocated to an impressive new teaching building on the Easter Bush campus 7 miles (11 km) south of the City. For the first time since 1962 all the veterinary facilities, together with The Roslin Research Institute, have been consolidated on this campus. The Faculty's undergraduate degree in Veterinary Medicine (BVM&S) is accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK, and by the American Veterinary Medical Association in North America. The school was ranked 1st in the UK in the UK's most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and the University of Edinburgh is ranked 17th in the world in terms of QS rankings.

  • 1823 - William Dick establishes his veterinary college, which marks the beginning of organised and continuous veterinary education in Scotland.
  • 1833 – Dick opens new college premises in Edinburgh’s New Town, at Clyde Street.
  • 1839 – The title of Professor is conferred on William Dick. As well as managing his veterinary school (single-handedly up to 1844) and running an extensive practice, William Dick published 45 papers on a variety of veterinary subjects, and was an editor of The Veterinarian. He was Scottish Veterinary Surgeon to Queen Victoria and undertook a variety of civic duties in Edinburgh.
  • 1857 – James Law graduated. He became the first professor of veterinary medicine in the United States, at Cornell.
  • 1859 - John Dunlop graduated and practiced in Ireland, where he invented the pneumatic tyre (initially for his son’s tricycle).
  • 1861 – Andrew Smith graduated and in 1862 established the Veterinary College in Toronto. In the same year, Duncan McNab McEachran graduated and established the Veterinary College in Montreal in 1866.
  • 1873 – Edinburgh Veterinary College professors John Gray McKendrick and James Dewar collaborated to publish On The Physiological Action of Light. Dewar was knighted for his contributions to Chemistry and the invention of the vacuum flask; McKendrick was a founder member of The Physiological Society.
  • 1875 – George Fleming, five times President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and who graduated in 1855, started The Veterinary Journal.
  • 1876 – John McFadyean graduated. He started The Journal of Comparative Pathology in 1888 and in 1891 became Principal of the Royal Veterinary College in London. He was knighted for services to science and the veterinary profession in 1905 and is considered the founder of modern veterinary research.
  • 1877 – The Edinburgh Veterinary College becomes known as The Royal (Dick) Veterinary College (the Royal prefix was in use from 1840).
  • 1886 – Otello Festiri Soga, the first indigenous South African veterinary surgeon, graduated.
  • 1889 – Albert E. Mettam graduated. He was Principal of the Royal Veterinary College of Ireland in 1900.
  • 1890 - Stewart Stockman graduated. He established the first British veterinary research laboratories at Weybridge, Surrey, and was knighted for services to the profession in 1913.
  • 1909 – Orlando Charnock-Bradley, Principal of the R(D)VC, was responsible for the formation of The National Veterinary Medical Association of Great Britain and Ireland, which unified the various regional societies. The NVMA became the British Veterinary Association in 1952
  • 1914 – Thomas Dalling graduated. A brilliant scientist and organiser, he was knighted in 1951 and in 1963 was awarded the Gamgee Medal at the World Veterinary Association Congress in recognition of his outstanding contributions to veterinary science.
  • 1916 – The College moves from its Clyde Street home to purpose-built premises at Summerhall in south Edinburgh.
  • 1935 – After more than ten years of research, Professors Henry Dryerre and John Russell Grieg of the R(D)VC published ‘The specific therapy of milk fever by the parenteral administration of calcium borogluconate’. Their work revolutionised the treatment of hypocalcaemic states in veterinary species and contributed to the understanding of eclampsia in humans.
  • 1943 – Robin R. A. Coombs graduated. His immunological test transformed diagnosis in haematology and transfusion medicine.
  • 1946 – Gordon Scott graduated. He became a world authority on rinderpest and other tropical diseases through his work at the R(D)VC and its Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine. His research contributed to the eventual eradication of rinderpest.
  • 1947 – The R(D)VC acquires a farm at Easter Bush, to improve practical teaching, in line with the recommendations for all UK veterinary schools outlined in the Loveday Reports of 1938/44.
  • 1951 – The R(D)VC  was incorporated into The University of Edinburgh as The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.
  • 1962 – Leslie James Park Duncan, a graduate of both the R(D)VC and the Edinburgh Medical School, became consultant in charge of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s diabetic department which he turned into a centre of excellence. His Saturday morning clinics included diabetic dogs and he saw cases from the R(D)VC.
  • 1962 – Ainsley Iggo appointed Professor of Veterinary Physiology. He developed an international centre of excellence in Neuroscience and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1978.
  • 1962 – The Easter Bush farm was developed into a Veterinary Field Station and incorporated The Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine (opened 1970) under the direction of Sir Alexander Robertson. This Centre and its successor, the University of Edinburgh Centre for Infectious Diseases, have played major roles in investigating and treating tropical livestock diseases and have trained large numbers of veterinarians in this field.
  • 1964 – The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies becomes the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine within The University of Edinburgh.
  • 1970 - Alhaji Dawda Kairaba Jawara, who studied at the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, became President of the Gambia. He was later knighted for services to human rights and animal health.
  • 1990 – Her Royal Highness Princess Anne becomes Patron of The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.
  • 1999 – The small animal unit of the R(D)SVS is relocated to extensive new hospital premises at the developing Easter Bush campus to provide multi-disciplinary referral facilities for eastern Scotland and the north of England.
  • 2008 – The Roslin Institute, creators of Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell, is taken over by The University of Edinburgh and becomes the research centre of The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.
  • 2009 – The Riddell-Swann Veterinary Cancer Centre, housing Scotland’s first veterinary linear accelerator, is added to the Hospital for Small Animals at Easter Bush under the direction of Professor David Argyle.
  • 2011 – The New Teaching Building and the new Roslin Institute building are opened at Easter Bush Campus, and the school’s historic site at Summerhall in central Edinburgh is sold to become a major arts venue (but still retaining a strong veterinary connection through its Royal Dick Bar).

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