Spalding vets trace their roots right back to 1841

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Julia Creese (centre) and staff at Riverside Vets in Spalding.

Director of Riverside Vets, Julia Creese, discovered that the business has had the same main digits for around 95 years.

The first record of the company’s number is in the Spalding phone book of 1921, shown as 66, when a switchboard operator would connect each call individually. Around 1945 the number changed to 3066 and in the 1980s it became 723066, which remains the same today.

Other companies in the 1921 book still around today in Spalding are Lloyds Bank, Longstaffs and the Spalding Guardian and Free Press.

Julia said: “I did most of my research on the internet. I also contacted the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, who sent me all the old documents containing registers and obituaries.

“It would be interesting to find out how many more businesses have kept the same number like us.”

The business can actually be seen to go as far back as 1841, when it was started by Richard Metherell, who eventually settled to base his practise on Red Lion Street in Spalding.

It has always remained a vet surgery despite being under different names and ownerships.

Reeks and Son Veterinary Surgeons took over from Metherell in 1882. The Reeks owned the business for three generations, the second being a well-known equine vet, having written two books on horse care.

Henry Caulton Reeks first wrote ‘The Common Colics of the Horse’, published in London in 1904. His second book ‘Diseases of the Horse’s foot’ was published in Chicago in 1918.

Sadly, all three Reeks died within four years of each other; Frederick Reeks of influenza, Henry Reeks of a seizure and Harry Reeks from a shooting accident.

In the obituary for Henry Reeks, he was described as: “a most likeable personality, exceedingly well-known and very highly respected”.

In 1937 the business changed hands to Martyn MacFarlane and again in 1953 to Ray Trawford, who dedicated 50 years to the business and died in 2012.

The premises for the vets moved to Albion Street in Spalding, then again to Double Street. Finally the vets moved to Cradge Bank in 2003 and remain there today.