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J R Soc Med. 2007 August; 100(8): 356.
PMCID: PMC1939955

From trades to professions

Having read with much interest the paper by Professor Black (JRSM 2007;100:219-224),1 may I be permitted to comment on the penultimate section, ‘Emergence of the professions’.

It should be mentioned that the British Dental Association has never been a regulatory body established by an Act of Parliament. It was created in 1879 and held its first general meeting in 1880; the first president was John Tomes, who was given a knighthood in 1886.2

The Dentist Act of 1921 led to the creation of the regulatory body, the Dental Board of the United Kingdom, which functioned under the auspices of the General Medical Council. The Dentist Act of 1956 resulted in self-government by the newly created General Dental Council. At the first meeting of the Council of the GDC the president, Sir Wilfred Fish, expressed the dental profession's grateful thanks to the GMC for the advice, support and the many kindnesses that had been given over the years. The message of thanks was formalized in a Council resolution; 50 years on, the wording of the last part might appear a little dated.

‘Moved from the Chair, and agreed: “That the President of the General Medical Council be thanked for that Council's hospitality in allowing the Dental Council the use of their Council Chamber, dining and smoking rooms.” ’

The General Dental Council celebrated its golden anniversary on 4 July 2006.


Competing interests RB is a sometime member of the GDC and author of General Dental Council: The first 50 years.3


1. Black N. From trades to professions. J R Soc Med 2007;100: 219-224 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Cope Z. Sir John Tomes: a pioneer of British dentistry. Dawsons of Pall Mall London 1961
3. Basker RM. General Dental Council: the first 50 years. General Dental Council Gazette 2006;Summer:suppl 1.

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press