Designer and vintage glasses from Beverly Padway’s collection

We had a fabulous time over the weekend, in the form of a long-awaited trip. On Sunday 19th May, we went to London to the AGM and auction of the Ophthalmic Antiques International Collectors’ Club. Darren has been a member for a few years and has bought from them online but we had never met them in person. The meeting was held in central London at The College of Optometrists which houses The British Optical Association Museum (OAICC) in a beautiful building just off Trafalgar Square. It is the perfect place for them to meet as it is full of items pertaining to the history of eyewear and eyecare.

The OAICC club members are all very welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable about all things optical and vintage. So is Neil Handley, the curator of the museum. We had a look round the museum and got quite excited at all the beautiful frames including some made by British designer Michael Birch, and other beauties by the likes of Mikli, Anglo American Optical and Christian Dior. The frames in the photograph belong to a collection from Beverly Padway, an American teacher and singer who loved glasses, not just to collect, but to wear. When she died in 2020, she generously donated her collection to the museum.

After the AGM (which we skipped, as we are not committee members!) and a fantastic lunch, we participated in the auction of a whole array of fantastic items including spectacles, a test set, eye baths, loads of elegant lorgnettes, and many exquisite cases. Darren procured several lovely lots which he managed to get into his ruck sack to take home on the train. That’s the up side of spectacles!

Although John Dixon Salt, chairman of the OAICC was busy sorting out auction lots, he kindly posed for a photo with Darren in front of a portrait of Galileo, who famously used his telescope to make many astronomical discoveries such as Saturn’s rings and the four largest moons of Jupiter. The museum is also decorated with art work of people connected with vision. I spent most of the day with St Jerome giving me a disapproving look. I discovered that St Jerome is the patron saint of spectacle wearers and is attributed for translating the bible into Latin. That sounds an arduous task, no wonder he needed some help to see!

John and Darren in front of a portrait of Galileo

The club is always looking for new members and welcomes anyone who has an interest in vintage eyewear, you don’t have to be an optician to join, anyone who loves old specs is welcome. September is a busy month for the OAICC as they are running a trip to Holland and on Sunday September 15th they are participating in a London wide event, the Open House Festival 2024 in conjunction with The British Optical Association Museum. I may have to twist Dead Man’s arm to make another trip to the big city!

St Jerome








TTFN have a good week Claire AKA Mrs Deadman