Who can join?
Membership of our Company is not restricted to people who work in the optical sector. Anyone aged 18 and above can apply, regardless of race, religion, marital status or disability. Membership of the Company has been open to both men and women since 1699. Many current members are active in optical manufacturing, on the high street, in hospitals or in community eye care, or in roles supporting those with sight loss. They are always happy to share their knowledge and experience. We also have senior charity heads and professionals of many different sorts who support our mission – better vision for all – and share our belief that no-one should be left behind because of their vision.
Applications are welcomed from inside and outside the United Kingdom. Proof of identity, nationality and current address will be required (certified translations may be required in some cases). All those who wish to be Freemen of the Company and Freemen of the City of London have to make a Declaration which confirms their respect for the City and the British monarchy, as the Company was formed and operates under their authority.
The Court’s general policy is that up to 25% of places within the Livery may be allocated to those who have no direct connection with optics but still support the Company’s aims. The Company very much welcomes people working in other professions who share the values of the Livery world: the principle of Fellowship and support for the 4 C’s – the Craft, the City, Charity and Community.
Benefits of Membership
- We value the ability to work across disciplines and are therefore apolitical, independent and globally-minded.
- With over 1,000 Company members across the world, all professionals are welcome, optical and non-optical
- Livery gives distinction and recognises your professional standing
- Liverymen are entitled to vote for the election of the City’s two Sheriffs and the Lord Mayor
- Health Liveries group work together to build City awareness of Health issues
- We operate from the prestigious Apothecaries’ Hall, built in 1670. Quarterly lunches are held here which are a unique blend of tradition and celebration.
- Members are invited to exclusive ceremonial occasions within the City of London, including the Annual Livery Dinner.
- The Spectacle Makers’ Society, the social arm of the Company, offers fellowship through an informal programme of social events and trips. There is a great mix of people from all ages and backgrounds, with friends and family welcome to many events.
- The Spectacle Makers’ Charity is a grant-giving charity aiming to help those with vision impairment and their families, and support the next generation of optical professionals through bursaries.
- It contributes over £75,000 each year to eye care in the UK and abroad, with a focus on transparency, impact reporting and efficiency.
- WCSM encourages research in the visual sciences by awarding medals each year and sponsors periodic lectures in vision science.