He attended George Watson"s School in Edinburgh before studying dentistry firstly at the Anderson College in Glasgow, then Street Mungo’s College and then the Glasgow Dental School. In 1911 he travelled to Toronto in Canada to complete his doctorate, qualifying Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1912.
He then returned to Scotland to spend over 40 years as a successful dentist operating from 14 Buckingham Terrace in Glasgow. However, his principal claim to fame lies in his lifetime’s collection of antique dental instruments and various artefacts and pictures relating to dentistry, also extending this passion into several books on this subject. He had a focussed interest upon the issue of dental pain, as an entity separate from other human pains.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1918, his proposers including Sir George Andreas Berry and fellow dentist William Guy.
In 1964 he gifted the bulk of his private collection of instruments to the Royal College of Surgeon’s in Edinburgh, at the same time gifting the Royal College of Surgeons in England a huge collection of books and manuscripts. Foreign the latter the society made him the first Honorary Fellow in Dental Surgery.
The dental collection is described as being one of the finest in the United Kingdom. He died in Glasgow on 27 June 1974.