There has been an Opticians in Lavant Street since 1928, when Mr. R. Phillips started working at 27 Lavant Street. His son John was born on the premises and inherited the optical business in 1963.
He went into partnership with Brian Edgworth and the firm moved five doors up the road to 37 Lavant Street in the early 1970s. Both men retired in the 1990s, but are still supportive landlords and take an active interest in modern optometry.
I came to work at 37 Lavant Street in 1980, and we liked the area so much that my husband and I moved to Petersfield in 1981. Our son David started his secondary education in 1998 and at that time I had the opportunity to buy the business, so I jumped at the chance. A complete refit and modernisation of the equipment took a few years, and I am now very happy to be in partnership with Graham (Coates), who joined me in 2004.
For the last 30 years I have been pleased to have had the chance to work in the Eye Department at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, where I have been particularly involved with looking after children with squints and poor vision. The daily challenge of trying to make people SEE has become even more rewarding over the years, and I am happy to look after whole families who have been coming to me for decades!
As a family we have always enjoyed walking and cycling and we were founder members of the Petersfield Squash Club, when it formed in the 1980’s. I still try and play squash regularly and enjoy handicrafts and growing my own veg. I also enjoy skiing and hill walking, although the hills seem to be getting steeper.
Given my time over again I would still be an optometrist and cannot imagine a more satisfying and worthwhile career.
Unlike Irena, I have not always been an Optometrist. Following a first degree at Exeter University in Biological Sciences I spent an extremely fulfilling and fun 10 years as a sensory analyst for the world’s largest drinks company. If you like the taste of Malibu, Baileys or Smirnoff Black, it may have been down to me! However good it was, I desired a career where I could use my skills to enhance the lives of individual people. Back to studying for 4 years – this time at City University, with my wife Helen supporting me.
Optometry has allowed me the immense satisfaction of helping people, of all ages, maximize their visual ability. Each day brings a wonderful balance of clinical challenges, and fascinating patients, be they young or old.
It has also opened up the chance to help those who cannot help themselves through the charity Vision Aid Overseas. I derive enormous joy from my annual trips to Africa (see my African eye care page), and giving educational talks.
Having started life as an Essex boy I have been won over by the beauty (and hills!) of Hampshire. With two children of school age, life is full and energetic and I still find time to pursue my love of photography.
Mrs. Morgan-Owen & Mr. Coates have been looking after our optical needs for a lot of years now. We are a family of five, they have cared for us through school, university, professional life, and now two of us are OAPs. One of us uses contact lenses, one has a family history of macular disease, all wear spectacles. Throughout all this time, we have been served with professionalism, efficiency, courtesy, kindness and good humour by everyone involved in this partnership. We have frequently recommended them to friends, and continue to do so without hesitation.
–Jan Grey, Feb 12