London - Other colleges
Before the advent of formal degree courses at the City University, ophthalmic optics courses in the capital were offered by a range of other providers.
British Optical Institute
| Max Coque
|| F Gordon Huntley FBOA
The British Optical Institute (BOI) was established in 1906 by one of the BOA examiners, F. Gordon Huntley, who subsequently became President of the BOA in 1927.The Institute was run by the French-born Dr Max Coque (1865[?]-1933) from 1910 until his death. We don't know very much about its history other than that it had premises in Brixton and pioneered the clinic system of training. This caricature sketch of 'Max' was drawn by one of his pupils. Born in Lyon, Coque had been an assistant to Monoyer, originator of the dioptre system of measurement. He came to England in the late 19th century and was an Honorary Visiting Ophthalmic Surgeon at Guys Hospital during the First World War. Subsequent to that conflict he taught optics to many ex-Servicemen. His last act, in collaboration with Walter Green and G.W. Colebrook, was to complete a translation of Cantonnet and Filliozat's book Strabismus
, which opened a fresh angle on the study of binocular anomalies.
Of his school he was extremely proud; with some good cause, for he had trained many capable opticians there. The only criticism of him as a teacher was that he would persist in imparting elementals with a patient thoroughness which some restless and over-ambitious youngsters - anxious to get hold of an ophthalmoscope - did not relish until later, when they could appreciate its value.
The BOI appears to have remained an approved training institution until the advent of the National Health Service in 1948.
West Ham College of Technology
| Staff and Students, December 1952
Formerly the West Ham Municipal College, this provided classes in optics under Mr William Swaine (1894-1986) in the 1920s. It was situated in laboratories on the Romford Road, Stratford E11. In October 1954 the Optics Department at what had become the West Ham College of Technology closed and the students from all three years (including the new intake for the present session) were transferred to the Ophthalmic Optics Department at the Northampton Polytechnic. The special evening course for qualified opticians preparing for higher diplomas run by Dr F. Herrmann was also transferred at the same time.
A notable student at West Ham was David Pickwell. He later became an Assistant Lecturer there in ocular anatomy and physiology before moving to become the first full-time lecturer in the Optics Department at Bradford.
London Refraction Hospital
Founded in 1923 under the auspices of the Institute of Ophthalmic Opticians this became a centre for postgraduate training and research but many years were to pass before it and similar institutions such as the Yorkshire or the Glasgow Refraction Hospitals were recognised as forming an essential element to a students training and became connected directly with College courses. The JAB approved it as venue for the third year clinical training of Northampton students in the early 1950s.
Imperial College of Science and Technology
The Physics department of London University was based here and included an Applied Optics section from 1925. The key figure associated with the department was Professor W.D. Wright who was also a governor, adviser, visiting lecturer and referee at the Northampton Institute. Professor Cheshire was also involved across institutions, taking over the Northampton department on the death of Chalmers in 1919. The Imperial department's links with optometry were borne out when it amended its name in the 1970s to include the term 'visual science'.
The Anglo-American School of Optics
This was an educational training service provided by a major manufacturer based in the Hatton Garden district of London. It offered personal tuition or lessons by correspondence. In the 1902 advertisement illustrated here it claims to be the 'Oldest School of its kind in this country', with the aim of turning out the 'thorough refractionist'. Founded by the company's creator, Stanley Druiff, it seems it also went under the name of the London School of Optics. Guy E. Druiff was instructor in visual optics and wrote an important text book 'Refraction' which went to four editions (1902, 1906, 1907, 1909). He and his brother Jack later founded the Elliott Optical Company. Two of the School's most distinguished graduates were the Fleming brothers, John and Robert although they never practised as qualified opticians, becoming wholesalers instead. Other alumni included the Cornwall brothers who founded the General Optical Company.