People's History of the NHS


Spectacles and case, about 1939

Spectacles and case; about 1939. Museum no. B.93-2014

V & A Museum of Childhood

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One thought on “Spectacles and case, about 1939

  1. I wore glasses of the “ Harry Potter” type from the age of three until I was about 7 or 8 , when I was issued with the style you date 1950s. I was born in 1953 and grew up in South London and regularly attended the school eye clinic. I did not like wearing glasses but I was a compliant child so I wore them “ for my own good”.
    I remember, with the wire frames, that there was a choice of pink or blue and maybe brown too. I can also clearly remember at age 7 having one lense covered with Elastoplast as I had a lazy eye. My eye was never so bad that it needed to be corrected surgically and it did improve to the point where I no longer wore glasses from about 16 years old. However I started wearing glasses again in my late thirties.
    It is noticeable that I am not wearing my glasses in any of my school photos other than the first one at age 5; I can’t be sure who it was that told me not to wear my glasses in the early photographs – it may have been my Mum or the photographer but as a young teenager it was my choice. I haven’t really thought about this before but I think I had been conditioned to think that wearing glasses wasn’t flattering and I think this probably wasn’t helped by the lack of choice for children wearing nhs spectacles and the perception that what was on offer was very similar to what your granny was wearing!
    I know very little about the current choice of nhs spectacles for children but I trust that we are far more enlightened today in our approach and encourage children to wear their glasses as an attractive accessory and to take pride in them.

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