In 1946, two optical entrepreneurs – Walter Conway and Herbert Thorn – faced a problem. Post-wartime eyewear was uncomfortable and cumbersome, with time-consuming manufacturing processes driving prices beyond the reach of ordinary British citizens. So the pair set out on a mission to develop innovative technologies that would ultimately leave an indelible mark on the world’s eyewear industry and inspire the first beautiful collection of Walter and Herbert frames, Made in England.
Walter and Herbert glasses and Walter and Herbert sunglasses are designed, manufactured and tested in England with meticulous attention to detail. Each pair is handcrafted by a team of specialist artisans with decades of experience combining traditional manufacturing techniques with cutting-edge modern technologies.
The brand hearkens back to its 1940s roots with smooth lines and rounded retro shapes, whilst also featuring modern colour combinations through world-class quality acetates. Styles pay homage to British icons, with Walter and Herbert frames named after the likes of Bronte, Kipling and Churchill, while the classic bowler hat motif nods to the brand’s quintessential Britishness.
70 years of heritage inspires not only the collection’s style, but also its quality. Each pair of Walter and Herbert glasses is thoroughly tested in a laboratory to ensure they exceed official British Standards, making them some of the most durable and versatile spectacles in the world.
For a taste of the latest collection, here are some of our favourite Walter and Herbert eyewear styles…
Own-brand Walter and Herbert glasses have only been manufactured since 2015, so what’s the story behind this exceptional British brand?
In 1946 eyewear pioneers Walter Conway and Herbert Thorn launched the Optoplast Manufacturing Company from their first headquarters in Guildford, Surrey. Established to cater for the needs of post-war Britain, its small but dedicated team set about engineering innovative solutions to tackle the nation’s eyewear shortage, and manufactured the National Health Service’s very first collection of optical frames.
But Walter and Herbert’s real passion project was the invention of the PIMO machine, which enabled spectacle manufacturers to reinforce acetate frames with metal inserts at a rapid rate of two temples a second. Walter and Herbert glasses were soon exporting more than 5 million pairs of spectacles around the globe every year. With business booming Walter and Herbert’s sons joined the company to continue their work and in 1967 the business relocated to Liverpool with a manufacturing base in Manchester to expand production.
The family legacy is being continued today by James Conway and Daniel Thorn who – with seven decades of industry experience between them – are driving the business into the future and championing an original collection of Walter and Herbert eyewear inspired by a rich heritage of British craftsmanship.
If you’d like to try the collection for yourself, visit the Contact Lens Practice and fall in love with your perfect pair today. If you’d like some advice or more information on Walter & Herbert Eyewear, feel free to contact us online or call us on 0121 468 0283.