A Brief History of Donaldson’s Vets

November 12, 2010

Donaldson’s Vets have been treating animals in and around Huddersfield for over 100 years.

The Practice was established by two brothers who came to Yorkshire from Ireland. The surgery was located next to the Town Hall on a site now occupied by the Queensgate Market. They dealt mainly with horses, which were the backbone of the transport system at that time. Not only did they treat horses but they rode on horseback from call to call and carried their medicines with them. As today, they worked closely with the local farriers to treat foot problems. Treatments were rudimentary – penicillin was not invented until 1929. In the surgery, large brown glass bottles occupied rows of shelves and medicines were individually mixed from these bottles and strapped to panniers on the vet’s horse before setting off in the morning.

As the importance of the horse started to decline with the growth in popularity of the car, the farm side of the practice grew. Mechanisation of food production meant that the area became increasingly important for rearing livestock and especially for dairy cattle. Medicines became more sophisticated and vets travelled between calls by car not horse.

George Donaldson, a Scottish vet qualifying from Glasgow Vet School, having worked in Colne in Lancashire joined the Practice in 1947 and became a Partner in 1958. The surgery moved from the Town Hall site to its current location on Maple Street in 1964, being built in the back garden of Mr Donaldson’s house.

“Young” Rob Donaldson (now retired) joined his father in 1969 after also qualifying from Glasgow. The last McKinna retired from the Practice in 1970 and Rob became a Partner in “Donaldson and Donaldson’s” in 1972.

Rob witnessed a huge transformation of the practice as the number of vets increased from 2 to the current 16 and the small animal side of the practice becoming more and more busy. 3 additional surgeries were developed dealing with everything from cats and dogs to gerbils,snakes and parrots while the large animal side of the practice has continually extended its boundaries.

Leave a Reply