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History of the Museum

The idea of establishing a museum at the BDA was suggested by members of the association from the 1890s. However, space of lack delayed its official establishment until 1934. During this time Lilian Lindsay, the first female dentist to qualify as a dentist in the UK, donated several old dental instruments and encouraged members to do the same.

 

At Hill Street the objects were displayed throughout the building and in 1967 when the BDA moved to its present offices the museum gained more space to display its ever growing collection and share it with the general public for the first time.

 

The museum continues to welcome visitors from the dental profession and general public.

 

The Collection

From a few objects, the collection has grown to over 30,000 spanning 500 years of dentistry. Most of the collection has been acquired through generous donations and we continue to collect objects today.

 

Recent Acquisitions - Can you spot the difference?

Recently acquired by the museum is this example of a Special Operations Executive (SOE) toothbrush designed for trained agents working in enemy territory during the Second World War. SOE was a secret service established by the British Government in 1940 to encourage resistance and carry out sabotage. Staying undetected in enemy territory required special training in the use of weapons and radio transmitter but agents were also helped by specially designed equipment.

 

This common travel toothbrush of the 1930s made from bakelite has been copied in exact detail but the toothbrush on the right includes a compass hidden in the shaft. It is not known whether this toothbrush was ever issued or used in the field or whether it was just a prototype. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating glimpse of ingenuity and attention to detail.

 

It came from the collection of war veteran Arthur Muggeridge (1919-2010) who in later life became a collector of military equipment and was friends with Charles Frazer Smith (1904-1992) who worked for MI6 and MI9 and designed spy items for SOE.

 

Further information

The BDA Museum has one of the largest collections of dental heritage in the UK. Spanning the 17th to the present day, highlights of the collection include dental chairs, drills, oral hygiene products, and the infamous ‘Waterloo’ teeth. 

The BDA Museum is located at 64 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 8YS, find out more details and our opening times.