Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

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Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Former names
Clyde Street Veterinary College, Dick Veterinary College, Royal (Dick) Veterinary College
TypeVeterinary school
AffiliationUniversity of Edinburgh
Head of SchoolDavid Argyle FRSE

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, commonly referred to as the Dick Vet, is the veterinary school of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and part of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine the head of which is Sir John Savill. David Argyle has been head of the school since 1 November 2011.

The school was ranked 1st in the UK by the UK Government in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework and the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and 2nd in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2014 and Times Good University Guide 2014 for veterinary studies.[1] In 2015, QS World University Rankings ranked the veterinary school 9th in the world for veterinary medicine.[2]


Originally called the Highland Society’s Veterinary School,[3] Edinburgh, the Dick Vet, as it came to be known, was established by William Dick, a former student of the anatomist John Barclay of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.[4] The first regular classes at the school were begun in November 1823,[5] although lectures to small groups of students had been provided for four years prior to this date. That first session of regular classes was financed by student fees and a grant from the Highland Society of Scotland at Edinburgh,[6] of which John Barclay was a director. Mary Dick, William's elder sister, was reputed to have been instrumental, from the early days, in the administration of the school.

Although an autonomous institution, the students also attended the lectures in (human) medicine at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Clyde Street[edit]

In 1833, William Dick, who was by then a successful veterinary practitioner and teacher, paid for the erection of purpose-built accommodation near the site of his father’s forge in a Clyde Street courtyard. William lived adjacent at 15 Clyde Street.[7] (Today Multrees Walk is approximately where Clyde Street was.[8]) This was the base for the school until it moved to its next site at Summerhall in 1916. In 1839, his school officially became a college and William Dick was given the title professor. By the time of Dick's death in 1866, the over 2000 students he had taught were to be found throughout the world. Among them were the founders of veterinary schools in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United States.[citation needed] On his death, Dick bequeathed his college in trust to the Burgh Council of Edinburgh.

It was officially named Dick’s Veterinary College following a request made by his sister, in 1873, in response to a crisis caused by the establishment of the rival New Veterinary College set up by alumnus and former Principal William Williams. Williams had taken with him the majority of the students, and the library. The two schools existed amicably within 100 m of one another in Edinburgh’s New Town until 1904, when the Williams' school moved to Liverpool, England, forming the basis of the University of Liverpool Faculty of Veterinary Science. The Royal (Dick) Veterinary College was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1906.[citation needed]


Orlando Charnock Bradley was Principal of the Dick Vet when it moved in 1916 to the south side of Edinburgh, to another purpose-designed building, at Summerhall.[9] In 1951 the college was reconstituted as The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, an integral part of the University of Edinburgh, and became a full Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 1964. Reorganisation of the university in 2002 resulted in the abolishment of Faculties, and the Dick Vet once again became The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, one of the four Schools within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

In 2009, Scottish Television filmed a five-part documentary at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.[10] Some of the cases shown on the documentary follow a wild swan needing an endoscopy, a horse in emergency colic surgery, a skunk being neutered, a chameleon with an eye infection, and the removal of a tumour near a cat’s heart.[11] STV filmed a second documentary in 2010.

Since 2013, Summerhall is now a major international art museum and arts hub which has exhibited over 200 artists in two years as well as many theatre, music and literature events in the building.

Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies Main Building, Easter Bush Campus

Easter Bush Veterinary Campus[edit]

In 2011, the Summerhall site was vacated and the staff and students were relocated to a new teaching building on the Easter Bush campus, 7 miles (11 km) south of the City. For the first time since 1962, all the veterinary facilities, together with The Roslin Institute, were consolidated onto one campus. The faculty's undergraduate degree in Veterinary Medicine (BVM&S) is accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK, and by the American Veterinary Medical Association in North America. In September 2013, the National Avian Research Facility was opened on the Easter Bush campus.

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education[edit]

The Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education (JMICAWE) is a hub of expertise on animal welfare education, collaborating with international universities, governments, charities and NGO partners to advance the understanding of animal welfare issues.

Recent projects have included investing in the Clinical Skills Lab at the Dick Vet School, providing students with animal alternatives on which to practice; including a new equine colic simulator. They have also developed a new online Masters programme in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law which joins the on-campus Masters in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare. These programmes are supported by The Scottish Rural College allowing students to benefit from being taught by many of the best animal welfare experts in the country.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable staff[edit]


  1. ^ "Complete University Guide 2014". Complete University Guide. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  2. ^ "QS World Uni Rankings by Subject - Vet Med". QS World Uni Rankings by Subject - Vet Med. QS. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  3. ^ Bradley, O.C. 1923. History of the Edinburgh Veterinary College. Oliver & Boyd;Edinburgh.
  4. ^ Macdonald, A.A., Warwick, C. & Johnston, W.T. 2011. Early contributions to the development of veterinary education in Scotland. Veterinary History, 16, 10-40. (
  5. ^ Macdonald, A.A., Warwick, C. & Johnston, W.T. 2005. Locating veterinary education in Edinburgh in the nineteenth century. Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, New Series, 6, 41-71. (
  6. ^ The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland;
  7. ^ "Edinburgh Post Office annual directory, 1832-1833". National Library of Scotland. p. 50. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  8. ^ Robert Kirkwood 1819 map
  9. ^ Warwick, C.M. and Macdonald, A.A. 2010. The Life of Professor Orlando Charnock Bradley, (1871-1937): diary entries 1895-1923. Veterinary History, 15, 205-220. (
  10. ^ "Being a vet's not just a job... it's your life". The Scottish Sun. 12 April 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Peter Lachmann, Herman Waldmann (Royal Society Publishing): ″Biographical Memoir of Robert Royston Amos (Robin) Coombs″, PDF
  13. ^ The Veterinary Journal Literary Prizes 2012
  14. ^ "Vets from all over the world celebrate Bearsden school's 150th". Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  15. ^ "Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.
  16. ^ Breathnach, Caoimhghín S; Moynihan, John B (17 August 2011). "The Frustration of Lady Aberdeen in her Crusade against Tuberculosis in Ireland" (PDF). Ulster Medical Journal 2012;81(1):37-47. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
  17. ^ Instructors
  18. ^ University of Pretoria: Jotello F Soga Library
  19. ^ British Veterinary Association: ″Henry William (Harry) Steele-Bodger, Biography Archived 2 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine″ PDF
  20. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°51′55″N 3°12′00″W / 55.86528°N 3.20000°W / 55.86528; -3.20000