Mr Barker's Dream

This exhibition ran from 3 February 2014 until 28 August 2015. It covered the history of optometry education in Manchester...

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Plaque from 1964

Mr Barker's dream was to deliver formal courses in optometry in the north of England so that practitioners did not have to travel to London for instruction. His dream came true and lives on in the courses now offered at the University of Manchester.

Via its Students Past initiative, the museum of the College of Optometrists collects the material heritage of the optometry student experience across the United Kingdom. For the duration of this exhibition our little bit of Central London was dedicated to the work of pioneer educationalists in East Lancashire!

The year 2014 marked the centenary of the first classes of instruction in optics to be held in Manchester - an initiative that did not survive the outbreak of the First World War. It was also the fiftieth anniversary of the awarding of the first optometry degrees - another Manchester 'first'.

Furthermore 2014 marked the 200th anniversary of the official founding of the Manchester (Royal) Eye Hospital, an institution that pioneered training for ophthalmic opticians alongside eye surgeons. One such trainee, Mr J. H. Sutcliffe, went on to become the founder of this museum.

Mr Barker's Dream was an exhibition located in the College Meeting Rooms. This meant it could only be accessed as part of our Full Building Tours (£5 fee payable by all except Fellows and Members of the College)

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