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British and Irish Orthoptic Society

  • British and Irish Orthoptic Society
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The collection contains the organisational and administrative records of the British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS) including Council, Board, committee, and regional minutes; registers of members; rules and handbooks; accounts; programmes and papers of conferences, congresses, and events; Moorfields Eye Hospital School of Orthoptics prospectuses and degree course material; photographs and newscuttings; stereogram cards and tests; correspondence; and papers relating to orthoptists recruited to the WRAF during the Second World War to provide vision training to pilots.

Also includes the papers of Mary Maddox which contain teaching notes; Maddox equipment relating to her father, Ernest Maddox, who was an Ophthamologist; Hamblin's steroscope pictures and charts; and correspondence with colleagues and patients.



Physical description

44 boxes: 231 files, 52 items, digital material, AV material

Acquisition note

The archives were given to the Wellcome Library by the British and Irish Orthoptic Society in May 2011.

Biographical note

The British Orthoptic Society was formed in 1937. However, a group of trained orthoptists first met with a view to forming a society in Apr 1933. An earlier attempt to form an organised association was made by orthoptists in Birmingham, which later accepted the status as the Midland and Northern Branch of the Society. Mary Maddox (b.1886), daughter of an ophthalmologist, is seen as the first pioneer of orthoptics. Maddox called the meeting in London to discuss a name, objects, rules, the formation of a Council, and the formation of a 'college or union' to deal with matters such as education, fees, training, and examinations. In 1938 Mary Maddox, now Mrs Lowndes-Yates, was invited to be the first President of the British Orthoptic Society, under the chairmanship of Sheila Mayou and Sylvia Jackson.

The first British Orthoptic Journal was published in 1939. Due to the outbreak of the Second World War the second issue of the Journal did not appear until 1944.

The British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS) continues to be a professional and educational body for the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. Most of its members live and work in the British Isles, with the remainder spread throughout the world.

For further information see A. Vivien MacLellan, Orthoptics; the early years (2006).

Appraisal note

A set of the British Orthoptic Journal from 1939-2009 have been transferred to the Library.


  • English
  • French

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