Membership

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

Networks

  • We value the ability to work across disciplines. We are firmly apolitical, independent and globally-minded.
  • We have more than 550 Freemen and 380 Liverymen 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
Events
 
  • 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.

Giving Back

  • 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.

There are three different categories:

Journeyman

To become a Journeyman you must be in the early stages of your optical career. It’s an easy  introduction to the Company, giving you access to networks and events for up to five years as you move towards becoming a full Freeman. You must already be working in vision care or the sight loss sector or training towards a relevant career.  £30 one off fee, easy sign-up. 

Freeman

All are welcome. We are an open & friendly Livery Company and you do not have to be working in an optical profession to join us.     
Eye health and sight loss professionals and children of Freemen can apply by right; others by recommendation of two existing members (we can help with this).
The current annual membership subscription for Freemen is £140. Payment of £20, charged on admission, covers all administration costs.
Download an application form or get in touch to learn more. Phone us or email clerk@spectaclemakers.com
 
 

Liveryman

Admission to the Livery, our highest level of membership, is by invitation only.  Candidates must already be a Freeman of the Company and of the City. There is a strict limit on numbers. The one-off Livery admission fee is £900.  The annual subscription fee (quarterage) for Liverymen for 2022-23 is £375.
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