Established in the 1940s as a small mainly agricultural practice, Scarsdale Vets (as it is now known) has grown to become one of the largest providers of veterinary care in the Midlands.
In 1945 veterinary surgeon John Rorrison purchased a small mainly agricultural practice, which was to be the start of what, 60 years later, has become the 30 vet, multi-site practice we now know as the Scarsdale Veterinary Group.
The original practice was run from John Rorrison’s house at 37 Kedleston Road, and most of the caseload involved farm animals; pets only occupied a very small part of the vet’s day.
In 1956 John Taylor, a new graduate joined the practice and so the first expansion had started. The practice changed premises in 1965, relocating to 47 Kedleston Road. Farm work still occupied most of the day’s work, facilities for small animals being one consulting room, one operating theatre and two dog kennels.
The practice continued to thrive and by the mid 60’s additional manpower was needed. This came in the form of Tony Thompstone who in later years was to become a real driving force behind the development of the business.
In 1972 Tony joined the partnership when John Rorrison retired. During the same year 45 Kedleston Road came onto the market and was purchased by the partnership providing much needed additional space for the continually growing practice. Further opportunity arose in 1976 when, following the demolition of the old terraced houses in Elm’s Street, a plot of land, immediately behind the practice became available. The acquisition of this land allowed the future building of the hospital extension.
In the late 70’s Tom Craig and Martin Grundy became partners and by this time the demand for the veterinary care of pet animals had increased substantially.
In 1979 David Bell, who for 2 years had worked in the surgery department of the Royal Veterinary College, joined the practice as the first almost exclusively small animal vet. This was the start of a trend towards specialisation which has continued to the present day.
Chris Parker joined the practice
In response to the increased companion animal caseload the Duffield and Mickleover branch surgeries were acquired and opened in 1983. Whilst these branches provided increased consulting room capacity, the operating facilities at Kedleston Road were becoming increasingly stretched. In response to this problem a major investment was undertaken when the practice decided in 1986, to build a large extension on the plot of land at the back of the Kedleston Road surgery. This provided considerable additional kennelling, 2 new operating theatres, a large preparation room and an extra consulting room. A large garage was constructed where a variety of operations on farm animals could be performed. This extension freed up some space in the old building and allowed for the expansion of the laboratory facilities under the guidance of Chris Parker, the sixth partner.
The Practice was now providing outstanding facilities for the treatment of companion animals, and it was felt that the standards necessary for Hospital status had been met. Application was duly made to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and following a rigorous inspection of the premises and facilities, hospital status was granted. This was a very proud day for everyone involved, especially Tony Thompstone who had put so much effort into co-ordinating the construction of the new building. With this elevation in status, the old name of Taylor, Thompstone and Partners was replaced by The Scarsdale Veterinary Hospital.
In the late 80’s, discussions with Ron Christie, who owned his own Practice in South Street, led to the merger of the two practices. It was at this point, due to increasing size, the Practice split into two separate departments. Farm and equine vets were based at South Street with companion animal vets remaining at Kedleston Road.
Sandy Jamieson joined the practice
Karen Davis joined the practice
The South Street premises were however rather cramped for the number of people based there and car parking facilities became limited. Consequently when in 1990 a riding school in Markeaton Lane came onto the market, it was purchased to allow expansion of the farm and equine side of the Practice.
Considerable development of the site was required and in addition to reception and office space, horse boxes, an equine examination area, an anaesthesia box and equine operating theatre were created. Shortly after building these equine facilities, John Mason, a very experienced horse vet from Eastwood joined the practice bring with him many of his equine clients. This enabled us to make good use of our new facilities. There is also an indoor riding school and a section for hospitalisation and operating on farm animals. A purpose built laboratory was also developed on site which is able to perform a wide range of investigative procedures for our large and small animal units.
John Turkington joined the practice
Major changes in the Partnership occurred in 1993. In May, John Taylor retired and was replaced by Sandy Jamieson who had been an associate of Ron Christie. Later in the year tragedy struck when Tony Thompstone was killed on holiday. Tony had played a major role in the progression of the Practice and was justly proud of his achievement. Of course we have not stood still since his death and feel confident he would be just as proud of the practice as it exists today.
The demand for small animal work has continued to grow as Derby has expanded and in recent years we have opened further branch surgeries at Oakwood and Hilton. The latter also has operating facilities and kennels so allowing a number of routine operations to be undertaken, without clients having to travel into Derby. This steady rise in demand for the veterinary care of pet animals has, of course, also resulted in the need for more partners on the small animal side of the Practice.
Paul Sands joined the practice
John Turkington became a partner in 1995. He has a particular interest in ophthalmology and is able to carry out many procedures not previously possible in practice.
Wendy Furness joined the practice
In 1998 Sarah Smith, who is a well recognised cardiologist, also joined the partnership. The colour flow ultrasound machine meant that Sarah could investigate and treat many heart conditions which only a few years ago were poorly understood and could only be carried out at universities. Further partnership changes occurred in 2000, when Martin Grundy who had been a very popular vet with both small and farm clients alike, decided to retire. Karen Davis and Paul Sands (dermatologist) have also joined the partnership in 2000 and 2002 respectively on the small animal side.
As most people will be aware the farming industry has been under very great pressure since the mid 1990’s. Many farmers have gone out of business and of course this has had a knock on effect on large animal veterinary practice from which we have not been exempt. Fortunately for ourselves The Springwood Veterinary Group in Burton decided in 1997 to stop offering a farm service and the practice was able to acquire a number of new farm clients which has helped us, in part to maintain our farm business.
Julie Todd joined the practice
Francis Boyer joined the practice
Subsequently in 2002 the small animal and equine business of Springwood was bought by the Scarsdale Group.
The Partnership had to deal with the sad loss of David Bell to cancer in September 2003. David was an excellent vet specialising in orthopaedics. He was much loved by both clients and colleagues and will be missed greatly for his advice in all matters.
Rose Jackson and Jacqui Paton joined the practice
James Hollingworth joined the Partnership in 2004 as a farm animal partner. This coincided with Pool House Veterinary clinic deciding to stop farm work in the Lichfield area. The Practice has acquired new farm clients leading to a large expansion in the farm practice area.
There are further pressures on the veterinary profession today from corporate practices, internet pharmacies, farm buying groups and the competition commission. The Scarsdale Veterinary Group, in response to these pressures, has come together with 24 other practices with a commitment to farm animal practice. This marketing group goes under the banner of XL Vets. Its focus is on member’s own clients with a view to maintaining a significant influence on farms and adding value on health and productivity, whilst sharing resources and expertise.
In 2005, the RCVS brought in the Veterinary Practice Standards Scheme. The Scarsdale Veterinary Group has achieved the top status of Tier 3 for the companion animal side and Tier 2 for farm and equine. This replaced the existing hospital accreditation.
In 2006, Wendy Furness, Equine Veterinary Assistant and Francis Boyer, Small Animal Assistant joined the Partnership team as Associate Partners.
Frances Bird and Paul Revell joined the practice
The history of the Scarsdale Veterinary Group shows how from the small start made by John Rorrison over 60 years ago, the Practice has grown to one with 30 vets, several of whom have post graduate qualifications in a variety if disciplines. We have 10 different sites and provide wide ranging veterinary care to dogs, cats, children’s pets, farm animals and horses.
Frances Bird, Anna Cockle, Julie Todd, Paul Revell, Jacqui Paton and Rose Jackson became Associate Partners.
Pride Veterinary Centre opened offering a vets practice, small animal hospital and luxury pet resort. The referral side of the business took off with many Diploma holders joining the practice.
The Kedleston Road practice closed, transferring its staff and clients to our new modern practice at Park Farm, Allestree.
Due to an expanding workload, the Oakwood practice moved from the Vicarage Road site to the Oakwood District Centre, where it can be better accessed and due to the larger unit, we are now able to provide more veterinary services at that location.
The Shelton Lock practice opened, offering a local veterinary service to the Shelton Lock and Chellaston areas. We added a grooming facility to this practice in 2016. in 2017, we moved the Blue Cross clinic from Pride Veterinary Centre to this location
Rose Jackson and Frances Bird became Partners within the practice
To celebrate 70 years of Scarsdale Vets, a Tour de Scarsdale was organised to raise money for charity, taking in all 10 practices and approximately 86km
Anna Cockle became a Partner in the business.