History of the BOS

British Orthodontic Society
The British Orthodontic Society held its first meeting in October 1994 after the unification of the British Association of Orthodontists (BAO), the Community Orthodontists Group of the BAO (ComOG), Association of University Teachers of Orthodontists (AUTO) and the Consultants Orthodontists Group (COG). The museum holds many objects and archives relating to the history of the BOS and the societies which united to form it in 1994. 

The Wellcome Library contains the archive for the BOS and preceding  societies. See the Archives page for more details.

Please see the History of Orthodontic section for a more detailed history of the BOS.  


Northcroft letter
There was a growing interest in orthodontics at the beginning of the 20th century. Many dentists were choosing to study in America as more time and facilities were dedicated to the subject. It was felt that a society was needed to be able to devote more time and scope to orthodontics than could be provided by the existing dental societies, the British Dental Association and the Odontological Section of the Royal Society of Medicine. The driving force behind the establishing of a society dedicated to orthodontics came from George Northcroft. On 15th October 1907 he sent this letter to interested parties asking them to meet at his consulting rooms at 115 Harley Street on 21st October 1907. 12 members of the profession met that night and established the British Society for the Study of Orthodontia. J. H. Badcock was elected as President and in his Presidential address at the first meeting of the society on 22nd January 1908 stated the only requirement for membership:

‘Anyone may belong to us, whether he practice dentistry or not, if only he be interested in the problems that interest us.’

Badcock goes on to state the activities of the Society; reading and discussions of papers, clinical evenings where methods and treatments are discussed, casual communications, the establishment of a library and museum and the appointment of an investigation committee to investigate and report upon matters of interest in the dental world. 

BAO President badge
BAO Presidential badge made by a member. The unicorn represents the Unicorn Hotel in Stow on the Wold where the first meeting of the BAO was held.   

BOS Past President badge
Enamelled medal showing the BOS coat of arms. Presented to John K. Williams in 2003.



Ceremonial gavel
Mahogany and ivory gavel carved by George Northcroft and presented to the British Dental Association in 1920. The words law, order, duty and restraint are carved into the head. A replica of the gavel is still used in meeting of the Council of the BOS.