About Us

Three Liverymen (women of varying ages) dressed in Summer formal wear at the 2022 June Court Lunch held at Apothecaries' Hall.
The Master Liz Shilling with Ruskell Medal Winner and Court Assistant Susie Downes.

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers sounds ancient but has a modern purpose.

Our mission is to support better vision for all.

We believe that nobody should be held back because of their vision.

The Company was founded in 1629 and is number 60 in the list of City of London Livery Companies by order of precedence.

When the Company was founded, making spectacles was the only thing that could be done to help people with imperfect or declining vision. Spectacles were the technology of their time. Today, there are many different ways to improve vision and spectacles are just one solution. 

Just over 80% of our members are, or have been, directly involved in vision-related activities but we are not a “closed” company. We welcome women and men of all professions – and have done so since the mid-18th Century.  Currently we have around 900 members from a wide range of backgrounds, aged from 20 to 95.

Within the optical and sensory world, we are independent and multi-disciplinary. All members have an equal voice, whether they are ophthalmologists, audiologists, optometrists, technicians, manufacturers, dispensing opticians, orthoptists, clinical advisers, ophthalmic nurses, distributors of contact lenses and intra-ocular lenses, optical assistants working in practice, in hospitals and in the community….not to mention the Chief Executives of charities and businesses, nurses, academics, strategy advisers, accountants, secretaries, solicitors, surveyors, IT professionals, fundraisers, Trustees and volunteers. The list goes on and on.

And our reach extends way beyond the City of London. We have members right across the UK, in Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. They live and work in communities where, every day, the Spectacle Makers’ craft is in evidence, helping people to understand eye health, to see better and to make the most of life.

What will happen in the next 400 years? Even we can't see that far ahead but we can support research and encourage those just starting their careers to give back while looking forward.  We want to inspire future generations committed to visionary eye care, building upon our rich heritage.

Read our Winter 2022 Review