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Celebrating 100 years of the BDA Library

10 February 2020

Current BDA Library staff, celebrating with former Heads of the Library Margaret Clennett (second left) and Roger Farbey (far right) and former Assistant Librarian Julian Roland (second right)


Dentists, BDA staff and the great great niece of the BDA's first librarian, Lilian Lindsay gathered at the BDA on Thursday 6 February to celebrate the BDA Library turning 100 years old, from its inception in 1920 to its place today as the most comprehensive dental library in Europe.

Current BDA President Roz McMullan highlighted the immense contribution the BDA Library has made over the years to supporting dentists and dental care professions in their learning and development.

BDJ editor Stephen Hancocks, current Head of the Robert and Lilian Lindsay Library Helen Nield and Lindsay Society President Roland Hopwood gave a "dramatic" presentation of the character of Lilian Lindsay through letters and memoirs.



The cake took pride of place, showing the three homes of the library at Russell Square, Hill Street and Wimpole Street.

Conceived in part by WH Dolamore and Lilian Lindsay, two eminent dentists long involved with the BDA, the library first began its life as a small resource in the BDA's original building in 23 Russell Square, London in 1920.

Last year, English Heritage installed a Blue Plaque on the building to mark Lilian's achievement in becoming the first female dentist to qualify in the UK.  

Lilian served as full time librarian from 1920 until 1946, when she became the BDA's first-ever female president, but she continued to oversee the library's development and growth as Honorary Librarian until her death in 1960.

BDA President Roz McMullan concluded her speech by saying:

"From 1920 up to 2020, the library and its staff have been there for members and BDA staff to access with any enquiry they can think of, and it will continue to be here to serve for many years to come, whether it be face to face, by email or possibly even by virtual avatar."

Helen Nield, BDA Head of Library and Knowledge Services said:

"It was great to see dentists, BDA staff past and present, and other well-wishers attend to celebrate our Library reaching its centenary. It was especially good to have a link back to 1920 with the presence of Lilian Lindsay's great great niece, Edwina Brugge, and her daughter.

"The BDA Library has been the home of dental research and learning for 100 years, and we hope it will continue for 100 more! We offer BDA members the ability to access our resources wherever they are, with our growing collection of eBooks and eJournals, our package and book delivery service as well as our literature searching facility.

"Continuous learning and development is such an important part of being a dentist and we are here to support you in your quest for knowledge.


Share your story: get in touch 

We are seeking your memories and stories about the BDA Library from the past and the present, let us know if you’d like to share any photos or stories of how you’ve benefited (and hopefully enjoyed!) using our library services and resources, please get in touch.