As a 15-year-old apprentice engineer in
1947 I attended the dental surgery on a Mr Arthur Edward Haward, at 199 Yorkshire Street, Rochdale.
Mr Haward was a
very kind and gentle man who took me under his wing, after at first reprimanding
me for having neglected my teeth for so long.
He informed me that I would require
to attend his surgery every Saturday morning till further notice because such a
lot of work was needed.
After much drilling and filling he stated that only two tasks remained. A
broken tooth at the front required a tip and an eye tooth just off the centre
needed a cap and he proposed that he would use gold to accomplish the task.
possible cost caused me considerable disquiet since my weekly wage was 28
shillings of which I was allowed to keep six shillings.
Don’t worry said my
dentist, by the time we are finished it
will be all part of the new NHS service.
In the following weeks he explained how he would drill two holes in my front
tooth to fit the platinum dowels, and then use the lost wax process to mould a
new tip for my tooth.
He then described how by twisting a piece of wire around
my second tooth he would know exactly its circumference and using that as the
circumference of his gold sheet he could then form that into a crown.
From then on, I could always joke that my fortune was in my smile.
I think that the dentists name was Mr Hayward but I am not certain of that. I
am sure however of his engineering and dental skills, and of his kindness and
patience over many weeks.
As a teacher of engineering I have on numerous
occasions been able to refer to the techniques he taught me 70 years ago.
(pictured above at 19-years-old, during his national service in the RAF)
Celebrating 70 years of NHS dentistry
This year marks 70 years since the birth of the NHS. We take a look at the history and development of NHS dentistry since it's inception and celebrate the work of NHS dentists across the UK today, as well as the challenges still faced in terms of ensuring good oral health for all - find out more.
If you remember being a dental patient at the start of the NHS in 1948, please share your story with us.