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College of Optometrists

42 Craven Street
London WC2N 5NG
United Kingdom
Carrie Sherlock, Information Specialist and Librarian
+44(0)20 7766 4352
44 (0)20 839 6000
Fax: +44(0)20 839 6800

The College's specialist holdings in the history of medicine, inherited from the former British Optical Association, are split across the library and museum departments. The collections of both may be consulted by the general public on application and the museum exhibitions, which change regularly, may be visited by prior appointment. The historical book collections, covering the whole subject of optics, ophthalmic science and ocular health are strictly reference only. Items from the museum collection are potentially available for short-term loan to temporary exhibitions at recognised museums. Complete catalogues are available online at: (Library) or (Museum). Open Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Please telephone to make an appointment. SERVICES: Colour photocopy facilities and a digital scanning service are available. Some bound historical items may not be suitable for copying.


The Library possesses about 500 pre-1850 titles, about 1000 titles published between 1850 and 1920 and about 5000 post-1920 titles. The Museum possesses over 12,000 catalogued items of which approximately 20% are two-dimensional works on paper including antique prints, historic trade literature and photographs. Additional archives are being listed on an ongoing basis.

Subject Strengths:
History of Ophthalmology and Optometry
Last Updated:
30 May 2017