James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Daring do & dentistry

In 1911, Nigel had been an 'artificial tooth maker' in Swansea, where he was lodging with a widow and her children; his son recalled he was a dental mechanic in Swansea. He subsequently set up as a dentist - this was permitted in those days - in Wistanstow. With the passing of the Dentists Act in 1921, all dentists had to be registered and Nigel, of 'Coton House', Craven Arms, registered on 27 November 1922. He remained on the register until at least 1942. The 1934 Kelly's Directory lists him as a dentist in Wistanstow, as dos the 1939 Register. Nigel had wonderful hands and gained an excellent reputation as the best extractor of teeth and maker of false ones. He practised well into his eighties. His services were much sought after by those who feared visits to a dental surgery because he was prepared to deal with their dental problems at the pub! His son recalls that there was one loyal gypsy patient who when he came to the door for treatment still asked for 'lish, just as he had done in Elisha’s time.

Like many others of the Owen family Nigel was a great lover of sport; he played hockey for Shropshire and was an enthusiastic racer of motorcycles. His son has photographs and gold medals, as the pictures available on the previous page testify. He was well known in South Shropshire for his daring acts both in the air and on his motorcycle. By contrast he was also a very good ballroom dancer and when he visited his brother Norman in London he was welcomed to the famous Victor Sylvester Ballroom Studios as a ‘host’. He was also very intelligent and observant. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of birds and – it was encouraged and not seen as harmful in those days – a substantial egg collection.