How it all started ........
The practice was started in 1945 by Mr. W.S.Marshall, who had trained at Edinburgh University, and as a veterinary surgeon was in a reserved occupation during the war. Mr Marshall came down from Scotland to take over a Large Animal Veterinary Practice based in the Cattle Market in Derby, and he subsequently took over another practice based in Belper in 1953.
Fast forward to 1974, and a young Roger Till came to the practice during his veterinary training to gain practical experience, as veterinary students are required to do. Roger enjoyed it so much that he kept coming back, and when he qualified from Cambridge in 1976 and Mr. Marshall was needing a replacement veterinary surgeon, it seemed inevitable that Roger should join the practice. Two years later they became partners and Marshall and Till was formed.
When Mr. Marshall retired Roger Till became the sole proprietor of Marshall and Till, retaining the name. By 2007, it was decided that the client requirements at the surgeries in Derby and Belper had diverged, and that moving staff between the two surgeries had become a disadvantage rather than an advantage. At this point it was decided to split the two surgeries in order to better serve the needs of our clients.
A year later it was decided to concentrate solely on the Belper surgery and to sell the Derby surgery, which is now a separate business with no ongoing connection to Marshall and Till.
In 2008 we were joined by Katherine Reynolds (now Baines, by marriage in August 2012) as an assistant veterinary surgeon, and in 2010 she became co-director with Roger Till. In October 2012, Roger decided to retire, leaving the practice in Katherine Baines’ capable hands.
WALTER SCOTT MARSHALL
Walter Scott Marshall O.B.E., B.Sc., M.R.C.V.S. who died on 24 October 2010, aged 90, was born in Edinburgh and qualified from The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in his home city on 11 July 1942. He spent two important years as an assistant of Ogilvie in Turriff, important more than anything because it was there he met his future wife Edith and so was formed a formidable and lasting team. He used to say that he only married her because he would need a receptionist but anyone who ever saw them together will know how untrue that statement must be.
On hearing that one of his finals examiners, Harold Burrows, was to leave his Derby practice to become a Professor at the Royal Veterinary College Walter bought the practice and moved down with Edith to practice from a one room surgery in Derby Cattle Market. In those days his work was almost entirely farm horses and cattle, but ignoring his predecessor's advice (“don't bother with dogs and cats, there's no money in them”) he slowly broadened the practice into a truly mixed one and moved to more palatial premises in Osmaston Road. There is no doubt the Marshalls were an impressive team and this was demonstrated by the rapid expansion of the Practice, which occurred in tandem with the expansion of their family. In 1953 he bought the Belper practice of Captain Boyle and further expanded his companion animals expertise.
In the meantime he had been instrumental in the formation of Broomfield Agricultural College to help ex-servicemen become farmers. He was a governor of Broomfield from its formation in 1948 until his resignation in 1998.
From the humble beginnings in the cattle market, through hard work, persistence, undying enthusiasm for the profession and an almost evangelical fervour to take on-board and disseminate new ideas; perhaps spurred by the fact that he was very seriously ill in the 50's as a result of meningitis caught from a bovine cleansing, but almost miraculously and unexpectedly made a full recovery as a result of the new-fangled antibiotics; he built the practice into a busy 5 man practice, finally taking a partner in 1978. He was a keen supporter of the new Royal Animal Nursing Auxiliary scheme, one of his nurses qualifying in the first batch of RANAs.
You might think that enough achievement for one lifetime, but Walter was very active in many areas of Derby, and ultimately Derbyshire, life. A keen sportsman in his early days he was a fearless member of the newly re-formed Derby Tigers Rugby Club, often dashing from rugby field straight to farm field. He was a Church Elder in the United Reformed Church; a moving force in the Derby Caledonian Society; a founder, Chairman and President of The Derby Club; a Justice of The Peace; a Tax Commissioner; a Past president of Derby Rotary Club and founding father of Derby South Rotary Club; a keen Freemason, being Master of Tyrian Lodge in its bicentenary year, and a prominent local politician for many years. He was Leader of Derbyshire County Council from 1977 to 1982, Chairman of East Midlands Airport Authority at the time it was developing from a minor local airport into a major freight hub and regional passenger airport; and Chairman of The Independent Airports Authority. He was appointed an Officer of The Order of The British Empire for services to local politics in 1982, a fitting tribute to a man whose integrity shone like a beacon through local politics.
He will be sadly missed not only by his daughter Sheena, his sons Gordon and Duncan, and their families but by all whose lives he touched; including all those at the practice of Marshall and Till which still lives on as a lasting reminder of his ideals.
ROGER HIBBERT TILL
Mr. Roger Till qualified from Cambridge in 1976, in which year he won the Lawson, Walley and Williams Prize from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. After the retirement of Mr. Marshall he was the sole proprietor of the practice until his son Matthew qualified as a Vet and became a partner. Roger Till always ‘specialised’ in developing a broad understanding rather than an in depth, but narrow, expertise. This approach, coupled with many years experience, allows him to easily identify cases which would benefit from the attentions of one of our ‘in house experts’.
He was the Radio Derby vet for over 25 years, has written a column for the Belper edition of the Derby Evening Telegraph and even appeared on TV in Tomorrow’s World and half a dozen appearances on Central News. He rates his best media moments as hosting live phone-ins from The Ideal Home Exhibition at Olympia, and The Official Opening of The Heanor Market Place Superloo on a very wet and windy day in winter. But fame is fleeting! He was also the first person to diagnose Maedi/Visna in sheep in this country and published a paper on this in the Veterinary Record. His most recent enthusiasm was acupuncture and he was a member of the Association of British Veterinary Acupuncturists and the Western Veterinary Acupuncture Group.
He is now enjoying his retirement and a well-deserved rest.