Britain’s first black dentist: book launch

The launch of a new book by author Phil Vasili on the life and history of Edward Tull-Warnock will launch at an event on Monday, 4 December

23 November, 2023 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

A black and white portrait of Edward Tull-Warnock

Next month (Monday 4 December) sees the launch of author Phil Vasili’s book about Edward Tull-Warnock, one of Britain’s first black dentists. The Life and Histories of Edward Tull-Warnock (1886-1950), published by Rymour Books, is the incredible story of a boy from a plantation slavery family who became an NHS dentist and noted sportsman.

The launch is being held at the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow; Edward was a licentiate of the College, gaining his Licence in Dental Surgery in 1910. The launch has been organised by Mike Gow, chairman of the Henry Noble History of Dentistry Research Group, who through Edward’s adoption is his first cousin three times removed.

Edward was born in 1886, in Folkestone. His father, Daniel Tull, was a carpenter, and came to Folkestone, Kent, in the mid-1800s arriving from Barbados, where his parents were born into slavery on the plantations. Daniel married a local farm worker’s daughter, Alice Palmer, and they had a number of children, including Edward.

I feel this work will have a special place in the literature of the Black Diaspora

He experienced adversity at a young age when his mother, Alice, died of cancer when he was nine, and his father died two years later of a heart attack. In the absence of any welfare state, Edward and his younger brother Walter were admitted to Dr Stephenson’s Children’s Home in Bethnal Green.

Edward sang in the children’s home choir and, after a money-raising choir tour of the UK, Edward was adopted by the Warnocks, a middle-class Glaswegian couple. James Warnock, a dental practitioner, was an orphan himself while his wife Jean was raised in the Poorhouse.

Book your tickets for the launch event today.

Tags: Black / First / Fist / History

Categories: News

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