Papers of William Dick (1793-1866)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Notes on 89 lectures on the anatomy, physiology and pathology of the horse delivered by Professor Edward Coleman at the London Veterinary College, Camden Town, taken down by William Dick.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Dick 1793-1866, was patron and first professor of the first veterinary school in Scotland: the Highland Society's Veterinary School. This was established in 1823. During his lifetime, William Dick was responsible for training approximately 1800 students. Over 800 of these sat the final certificate intending a career in veterinary medicine, the remainder attended lectures due to a professional interest. The school continues today as the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies which is the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Working as a blacksmith and farrier, alongside his father, William Dick observed the treatment of diseased animals from an early age. Whilst working for his father, he attended anatomy lectures at the University of Edinburgh with medical student friends. Encouraged by his lecturer, Dr. Barclay, Dick then attended the London Veterinary College. He applied for, and achieved his diploma within 3 months. On returning to Edinburgh he made various attempts to establish a veterinary school. Initially he supplied veterinary science lectures for an initiative by a Mr. Scott to set up an educational institution. After this project failed, Dick offered private lessons, until the founding of the School of Arts in 1821. This was a more successful venture, with 17 farriers attending his lecture series in the school's first year. In 1823 he was appointed lecturer in veterinary medicine for the Highland Society of Scotland. Practical classes were conducted at his father's farriery and his students were allowed to attend some medical classes at the University of Edinburgh. Dick financed the improvement of teaching facilities and until 1844 was the sole lecturer. Dick was a member of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh and on the editorial team of  The Veterinarian from 1833-1845. He was closely involved with lobbying for the Royal Charter of Incorporation, 1844, which established the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Conditions Governing Access

Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.

Acquisition Information

Transferred from Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Summerhall, Edinburgh, 1996.

Note

Compiled by Sarah Higgins, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division. Revised by Graeme D Eddie.

Other Finding Aids

Important finding aids are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.