The Lynwood Story 

The Lynwood Story

Current partner Duncan Reavell has been looking into the distant roots of Veterinary Surgery in Wimborne, as part of the Lynwood Museum of Veterinary History Project:

Richard Stone Blake (1825-1886)

Richard Stone Blake was a vet in Wimborne during the reign of Queen Victoria. He is first recorded at Pie Corner in 1851, already at the age of 26 married with children, with a vet student called George Longman staying to 'see practice', an activity which vet students still do today.

Richard was born in Tanuton, Somerset. He studied veterinary medicine at London, qualifying in 1849. He practised in Wimborne for 35 years, was much respected and enjoyed a very high professional reputation.

His first born son Henry died in 1881 at the age of 27, shortly before this photo was taken. You can see the black armband on Richard's left arm, signifying mourning. 

In the 1860s he lived in "New Inn" which is now the Albion hotel. In 1871 he lived at 23 East BrookHe eventually moved the practice to Avenue Road and died there in 1886. He is buried at the Minster.

He passed his practice on to his apprentice, Edward Whitley Baker. 

Edward Whitley Baker (1861-1931)

Vet at Glencairn, Avenue Road in Wimborne for nearly 50 years. More information to follow.

Edward George Robertson

Lived at the Avenue Road practice in the 1930s before moving it to Lynwood house. He worked with Frederick Beckett from Blandford (that became Damory vets). More to follow.

by Mark Bennett, Retired Partner of the Lynwood Veterinary Group

There was certainly a Veterinary Surgery on the site of the current Lynwood Wimborne Surgery in the mid thirties but the true origins of the Group go back to when John Birrell, who qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon in 1937 started working for the Becket practice(now Damory) based in Blandford but with a surgery in Wimborne. John took over the Wimborne Practice. Interestingly, the telephone number of the Practice was Wimborne 1, we understand that the Doctor in the town was Wimborne 2!

John Birrell expanded into Purbeck taking over the Practice from Eric Lever. Roger Pinniger became a Partner in 1951 and ran the Purbeck Practice. He built the Veterinary Hospital in Swanage which at the time was only the second Veterinary Hospital in the country registered by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. He did this with the financial help of his godfather John Way-Hope who was a Partner in the British Seagull Outboard Motor Firm in Poole which those of you reading this who are old enough and spent time messing around in boats will remember!

In 1967 the Partnership bought 1,Dunbar Road in Bournemouth and created another Veterinary Hospital. By then there were four Partners.

The house that John Birrell lived in in Wimborne was called “Lynwood” and although it is not now part of the Practice, we adopted the name for the group sometime in the eighties when John Birrell retired. At this time there were seven Partners.

Lynwood was a Mixed Practice dealing with all species until just into the millennium when a decision was taken to concentrate on small animals only. A new surgery was established in the rapidly growing conurbation of Verwood and at about the same time the Lynwood School of Veterinary Nursing was started on the Poundbury site in Dorchester. The School has gone from strength to strength and now is an important centre for the training of Registered Veterinary Nurses in the South of England.

In 2003 the Wareham branch was relocated within the Leanne Business Centre on the Sandford Lane Industrial Estate and became the focus of the Purbeck practice. The old premises on the Ulwell Road in Swanage were redeveloped shortly afterwards.

Over the years there have been many Veterinary Surgeons, Nurses and other staff who have worked with us and we know that they have all contributed to the history of the Lynwood Veterinary Group.

The Lynwood Veterinary Group has been a major provider of Veterinary Care in Dorset since about 1937.

Chris Remembers

Thoughts and memories of Chris Pole, longstanding member of the practice, on retirement from the partnership

Chris Pole1979 – Margaret Thatcher was first elected PM, petrol was 79p a gallon (16p a litre), average house price was £13,650, Bank of England base rate was 12.5%, UK inflation was 17%,the USSR invaded Afghanistan and the Sony Walkman and the Snowboard were invented....

And I joined the Lynwood Veterinary Group or Birrell and Partners as it was then, as a humble assistant. Fresh from the Black Hills and harsh winters of Herefordshire where I had started my career, Dorset was truly a green and pleasant land. The practice served over a hundred mostly family run farms, lots of recreational horses and was one of very few local practices treating cats and dogs. Days were long with open evening surgeries often continuing until 9pm at night and time on duty often ran to 96 consecutive hours. The working time directive was not even a twinkle in some Eurocrats eye. But the clients here were happier, brighter and less austere which I put down to the extra sunshine and it was and still is a great place to work.

Over the intervening thirty-three years there have been huge changes, ten Partners and hundreds of staff have come and gone, the focus of the Practice has changed from an older style truly mixed practice to a modern companion animal practice. In Wimborne we moved from a converted stable block to purpose built premises. We now have daily access to investigative instruments and procedures and drugs and treatments which in 1979 would have seemed to verge on the magical. Many conditions which we can recognise and treat these days had not actually been discovered in the seventies.
In many ways the three decades seem to have passed in a flash and left me with some great memories but now I feel it is time to step back a little and let the succeeding generations stamp their personalities on this longstanding institution.

I won’t disappear completely even though I am leaving the Partnership, I am going to continue to work part time Monday to Wednesday. In the meantime I would like to thank all clients past and present for their support through thick and thin, triumph and tragedy and who have helped to make my career at the Lynwood Veterinary Group such a satisfying and enjoyable experience.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2015: After decades of service to the practice Chris has finally hung up his stethoscope for the last time! His final consultation was somewhat dramatic, as the building at Wimborne suffered a collision with a car! Fortunately no one was hurt but Chris always said he would go out with a bang!