In 1919, Philip Oliver Goldsmith was glumly selling little round metal-framed glasses at a London optician, knowing customers could look so much better.

When he came across a brand new material in a button factory called plastic he saw the way forward. In 1926 he launched his own business.  And those first colourful plastic frames are now in the V&A.


In the 1930s, Oliver Goldsmith pioneered the idea of choosing frames to suit your face-shape – angular frames for a round face, round for a square face, an elongated line for a heart-shaped face – and in a colour to suit your hair or eyes.

War put the business on hold. But in 1946, he and son Charles opened a factory on London’s Poland Street, and Charles had an idea. After fitting dark lenses into a few frames, he put these new ‘Sun Specs’ in the window of Fortnum & Mason.  Within days they’d sold out, there was a waiting list – and sunglasses plus the world’s first sunglasses brand had been born.


King George VI wore them. And after an Oliver Goldsmith pair became the first ever featured in Vogue, sunglasses were confirmed as an essential new fashion accessory.

In the 1950s Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren wore Oliver Goldsmiths. Christian Dior put his sunglasses on his models. Audrey Hepburn wore an iconic pair in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’.

In the 1960s the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, and Michael Caine were often photographed in Oliver Goldsmiths, as in the 1980s was Princess Diana.  Today, Robbie Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady Gaga and Jude Law are fans. All confirm Oliver Goldsmith’s enduring allure.


We are an authorised retailer of Oliver Goldsmith eyewear.

Book a styling appointment with one of our expert dispensing opticians – who’ll help you find just the right frames to suit you.

Oasis – Night Sea
OOPS WS – Earth Tortoise

Mistinguett – Ocean

Gopas – Whale
It is seldom that you find real customer care these days but Whitby & Co went above and beyond in finding the right glasses and lenses for me.
The optometrist and dispensing optician were both hugely knowledgeable and took the time to try different possibilities to find exactly the right solution.
Ed Moore – Whitby & Co. Patient
Fabulous! Super comprehensive eye exam, extremely attentive and answered all of my questions and really reassured me about any concerns I had.
10/10 recommend!
Lauren Warner – Whitby & Co. Patient
Whitby & Co have been my opticians for 20 years and their service has never been anything less than excellent.
Matt P – Whitby & Co. Patient
I was here because of problems with my eye (infection). I was on vacation from Germany and I had to find a doctor very fast. Mrs Lavinia de Souza helped me a lot. It was perfect. She had the newest optical machines and I could see my eyes in 3D at the monitor. She explained me everything very good.
MB – Whitby & Co. Patient

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