Catalogue Number: 1983
Coat of arms of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers on glass
Category: Historical object or artefact
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: Early 20th C
Description Of Item: Circular glass plate, 33 cm in diameter, brass chain, coloured decal 25.4 cm in diameter with the words The.Worshipful.Company.of.Spectacle Makers.Lond.Incorp.1629 around the perimeter, encircling the institution's coat of arms (crest), the scroll of which bears the words 'Blessing to the Aged'
Historical Significance: The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers was founded in 1629 and continues today. It was a craft guild for some 250 years, often not doing much, but in 1898 it offered courses of instruction and examination for persons desiring to become Fellows of the Company (FSMC) recognised as trained opticians/optometrists, a function it handed to the British College of Optometrists in 1979. Until 1958 any person could practise as an optometrist in the UK since there was not until this time a registration act. However, from the beginning of the 20thC it became the norm in the UK to sit the Fellowship examinations of either the British Optical Association or the Spectacle Makers Company. These examining bodies raised the standards of professional education and conduct until that role passed to the General Optical Council when the Opticians Act was enacted in 1958. Passing the SMC's examinations was one method of securing registration until 1979 when the SMC joined with the BOA and the Scottish Association of Opticians to found the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians (now the College of Optometrists) as the single examining body for optometrists. A number of Australian optometrists became Fellows of the Spectacle Makers Company in the first half of the 20thC when there was no formal optometry training in Australia.See Cat No 1811 for a similar glass shield for the Spectacle Makers Company. See Cat Nos 286, 531 and 532 for more information on the history of the Spectacle Makers Company.
How Acquired: Not known Probably donated by a Victorian optometrist holding Fellowship of the Company (FSMC
Location: Nathan Library. Foyer Upper display north wall