Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 15, 2019
Webpage updated: September 15, 2019




Messrs Lascelles, the opthalmic opticians, was located at 90 Old Town Street before the Second World War and at 2a Mutley Plain thereafter.

Passengers on buses halted by the traffic lights at the southern end of Mutley Plain often find themselves staring at the name over the premises without knowing anything about this long-established business.

Alfred Arnold Lascelles was born in Herefordshire in the last quarter of 1851.  By the time of the 1871 census he was one of the many occupants of number 69 Union Street, Plymouth, where he lived with his step-father, Samuel Spry, who was an accountant; his mother, Mrs Louisa Spry; his 16-years-old sister, Rosina; and the three children of Samuel's first marriage.  Alfred was already an optician but it is not known where he was working.

Miss Rosina Lascelles married Mr Albert Whitfield at Saint Andrew's Church on December 30th 1884 and Mr Alfred Arnold Lascelles married Miss Kate Mutton at All Saints' Church on July 9th 1898.  He entered business on his own account in 1909.

Mr Alfred Arnold Lascelles died at a nursing home in Plymouth, on Thursday October 6th 1927, aged 76.  His home was at number 8 Gordon Terrace, Mutley.  During his life he had been chairman of the local branch of the Institution of Ophthalmic Opticians, a Freemason, an Oddfellow and a dioptrician of the British Opticians' Association.  Mr Lascelles was an entomologist of repute and a lecturing member of the Plymouth Institution.  As one of Plymouth's most learned scientists, he had been responsible for the adjustments of the levels in connection with the main drainage in the Borough.

Mrs Kate Lascelles died on November 21st 1937 at 3 Belle Acre Close, Plymouth, aged 70.

Their son, Mr Gerald Alfred Lascelles, was born at Plymouth on April 15th 1899.  He married Miss Clarissa Collier Collier at Emmanuel Church, Compton Gifford, on March 31st 1926.

During the Second World War the business premises in Old Town Street was destroyed and by November 1941 Mr Lascelles had moved to 24 Ford Park Road.  He also offered a service from his home at "Fairholm", Ridgeway, Plympton.

He later sold the business to Mr G R O'Brien, an optician at 141 North Road, and first retired to Horrabridge and then Dartington.

Mr Gerald Alfred Lascelles, of Moor View, Dartington, died in the Totnes Hospital on December 23rd 1979.  He was 80 years of age and was cremated at Torquay Cemetery.  He was survived by his widow.

His business was taken over by Mr John Forte until his sudden death at the age of 64 on May 17th 2001 and then by his sons, John and Paul Forte, until 2006 when Mr Simon Laws, purchased the business.

Sadly the business suddenly ceased trading on Saturday March 10th 2018.


  The author was referred to Lascelles by the Royal Eye Infirmary in about 1954 and although not a continuous customer,
was registered with them at the time of their closure in 2018.