Dollond & Aitchison is one oldest retail opticians in the UK, having been established in 1750.
In 1750 Peter Dollond opened a small optical business in Vine Street, near Hatton Garden in London. He was joined by his father John Dollond two years later. Dollond & Co. soon became known for the quality of its optical products. In 1768 John Dollond was appointed optician to King George III and the Duke of York. In 1781 Peter Dollond made bifocal spectacles. At the Great Exhibition 1851 in London, Dollonds were awarded a medal for the excellence of their optical instruments.
In 1927 Dollond & Co. merged with another maker of optical instruments, Aitchison & Co., which had been established by James Aitchison at Fleet Street, London in 1889, to form Dollond & Aitchison (D & A). The new company concentrated increasingly on prescription spectacles.
In 1969 D & A moved to its current location in Aston, Birmingham. From 1970 until 1982, D & A were successful in a series of acquisitions in the UK, Spain and Italy. In 1994 however, management buy-outs of the UK, Spanish and Italian companies took place. In the 1990s D & A launched a number of services for customers such as the introduction of computer analysis for eyesight and a “contact lenses by post” scheme.
In 1998 Dollond & Aitchison was acquired by De Rigo, one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of eyewear. D & A was merged with Boots Opticians in May 2009, forming a chain of 690 stores and a staff of 5,000 people.