Fact File

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers Fact File

We are:

  • The oldest optical body in the world still in existence (founded in 1629)
  • A Company established by Royal Charter: you will not find us registered at Companies House!
  • A community of people focused on supporting the Craft, the City of London and Charity
  • One of the largest Livery Companies by membership with just under 400 Liverymen and 700 Freemen; membership is open, not closed
  • 60th in the order of precedence of London Livery Companies
  • A Company which is very much engaged with its craft; support for helping people to see better remains our core purpose
  • The body from which both the College of Optometrists and the Association of British Dispensing Opticians originated
  • A leading provider of qualifications for optical technicians and support staff, accredited in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • A supporter of optical training, through the WCSM Education Trust, and, through the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ Charity (Reg no 1072172), a grant-giving body funding improvements in quality of life for vision impaired people
  • A supporter of academic research, with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals acknowledging the contribution of research to the improvement of eye health and the prevention and treatment of visual impairments
  • A meeting point for people of all optical professions and none and a place to make friends and enjoy friendship based on common values