A Hundred Years of Ashworth Opticians

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By Helen Morgan

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First Published 14/6/2021
Last Updated 13/1/2022

 

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Fig. 1 William Herbert Ashworth
© Ashworth
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William Herbert Ashworth, Ian's great grandfather, trained as a watchmaker and founded his watch and clock business in Longsight, which involved some optical work.  Later, he transferred it to premises in Rusholme.

Ian’s grandfather, Giles Herbert Ashworth, qualified as an optician in 1921, 100 years ago this year. Giles worked with his father in Rusholme. When William died c. 1930, Giles continued to run the business purely as an optical practice.

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Fig. 2 Giles outside the Rusholme premises
© Ashworth
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In 1943 Giles moved to a house practice on Cheadle Green, and acquired the Cheadle premises where they are based now, in 1953/54.

William Dudley Ashworth, Ian’s father, was born in 1933 and qualified as an optician in 1954. As soon as he did so, he went straight into National Service for 2 years.

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Fig. 3 Giles Ashworth
© Ashworth
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Fig. 5 Dudley's mother, Dudley and sister Mavis on Southport pier 1950 
 © Ashworth
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Fig. 7 The original Heald Green house practice was based  at 201-203 Finney Lane
© Ashworth
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Fig. 4 Dudley, aged 12, with his mother in 1945
© Ashworth
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Fig. 6 Dudley Ashworth. National Service, Royal Army Medical Corp, Crookham,, Hampshire 1954
(Dudley is middle row, second from right)

© Ashworth
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In 1959 Dudley bought 201 Finney Lane in Heald Green, and it became a house practice in 1960. Later he bought the house next door, no. 203, and the business became double-fronted.  Around 1984, he moved into the parade of shops where the opticians is today. Dudley retired in March 2000.

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Fig. 8 Dudley Ashworth when the shop opened, 1984 
© Ashworth
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Fig. 9 Three generations of opticians; Ian, grandfather Giles & father Dudley, 1990 
© Ashworth
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Fig. 8 Caroline and Ian inside Ashworth Opticians 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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Fig. 9 Caroline and Ian outside Ashworth Opticians 2021
© Colin Barnsley
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Ian Michael Ashworth is the 4th generation of opticians and qualified in 1986. He married Lesley, an English teacher, in 1990.
They have 4 children.

Dave, their eldest son, has a PhD in chemistry and works at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Daughter Nicky is a teaching assistant. Andy has a Chemical Engineering masters and works at Barclays, Radbroke Hall. Will, the youngest, opted to do his chemistry degree as an apprenticeship at Astra Zeneca.

The family help train guide dogs for the blind at their house and are now on pup number 12 called Brenda who is 6 months old. Her mum, puppy number 9, was also with the family and is now a brood bitch for guide dogs. All the pups have their own challenges and Brenda’s is a fear of manhole covers!

 

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Fig. 10 Dudley and Ian being interviewed at Dudley's home May 2021
© Ashworth
Click Image for Interview (Youtube),
or click here to 
Read Transcript

 

Bibliography

  1. Ashworth, Dudley and Ian, in conversation at Dudley's home, 2021

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