A little history

Humble beginnings, 1950

Veterinary surgeon Dick Shorter joined the British Army after qualifying in 1943. In 1950, he and veterinary surgeon Peter Bligh began practising from one room in premises at Temple Road, Stowmarket, using their corridor as a waiting room. The art of the veterinary practitioner at that time is well depicted in the James Herriot series of films and the Temple Road practice had many similar tales.

Moving to Crowe Street, Stowmarket

In 1962, Peter Bligh left the partnership to join the veterinary investigation department at the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF). Later that year, Donald Mackintosh, a graduate of Glasgow Veterinary School (who had previously served in the Army), joined Dick Shorter and they relocated the practice to larger premises at 8-10 Crowe Street, Stowmarket, and became Messrs, Shorter and Mackintosh MRCVS.

Expansion in the 1970s and 1980s

The partnership continued to develop with the addition of veterinary surgeons Michael Webster in 1964, Ian Kennedy in 1972 and Roger Harvey in 1979 – all graduates of the Royal Veterinary College.

Being a traditional rural practice, the veterinary team worked mainly with farm animals throughout rural Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex. In the late 1970s, demand for the veterinary care of small pet animals began increasing and the practice was required to provide more small animal services.

With the retirement of Dick Shorter and the team of veterinary surgeons rapidly expanding, the practice adopted the title of Stowe Veterinary Group. In 1985, veterinary surgeon Martin Barrow, a graduate of Edinburgh University, joined the practice having previously worked in mixed practice in Norfolk.

Moving to Bury Road, Stowmarket

In 1987 with a continually expanding workload, Stowe Veterinary Group moved to a bigger, purpose-built surgery, based at 54 Bury Road, Stowmarket. The practice was fully functional and provided outstanding facilities for the treatment of all companion and farm animals.

Opening of the Mustard Pot, Needham Market and the Old Tea Room, Elmswell

In response to the increased small animal caseload, they expanded with the opening of two branch surgeries – The Mustard Pot in Needham Market and The Old Tea Room in Elmswell. The Mustard Pot has an interesting history of its own and its relocation to Needham Market was covered in local news at the time. Read more about the fascinating past that has made this building part of our British heritage.

Expansion of equine and large animal practice via the formation of Stowe Animal Health

The main premises expanded further with the addition of veterinary and veterinary nurse accommodation and a large stable block with horse exercise ring and paddock. Then in 1996, the practice built a rear extension to provide administration offices and additional facilities for its expanding large animal and equine business. In the summer of 1997, Stowe Animal Health was formed. The practice was now able to provide farmers, smallholders and equine clients with a full range of health care products at competitive prices.

Further expansion of Bury Road, Stowmarket

With the steady rise in demand for its services, the third phase of the expansion began. A small animal extension provided a new surgical wing, additional consulting rooms and a larger reception and waiting area.

The former waiting room and consulting areas were refurbished and Pets Place pet shop and grooming parlour opened to the public for the first time in November 2001. With a clear focus on preventative health care, the practice was now able to supply a full range of products, pet care advice and a complete dog grooming service.

Opening of Moreton Hall Veterinary Centre, Bury St. Edmunds

In February 2004, Moreton Hall Veterinary Centre was opened to provide a complete service for clients in Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding villages. This state-of-the-art practice has continued to grow every year and provides a personal, professional and caring service to clients and their pets. Equine and farm clients to the west of Stowmarket also find the facilities convenient for collection or drop off of samples and medicines.

Moreton Hall Veterinary Centre encompasses a large Pets Place shopping facility and grooming parlour.

Opening of Ipswich Veterinary Centre, Ipswich

In September 2015, Stowe Veterinary Group opened the Ipswich Veterinary Centre. This new state-of-the-art centre has been in development for several years and encompasses the group’s ethos for excellent service and continuing professional development for its staff. It hosts lectures for the Central College of Animal Studies and undertakes post-graduate training for veterinary surgeons. It also has a veterinary nurse and animal behaviour training facility.

Its diagnostic imaging, hydrotherapy and physiotherapy suites are a welcome addition to the group’s facilities and services.

Equine and farm clients to the west of Stowmarket also find the facilities convenient.