William Edward Moorhouse founded Moorhouse
Opticians in 1919.
as William Edward was known studied at Manchester University to become
a certified optician (F.B.O.A.) and worked at the Fattorini shop
in Bolton. Thomas Fattorini (a cousin of Ted's) had shops in Skipton
and Bolton, which mainly sold jewellery, but also barometers and
glasses. Ted's brother Charles trained to be a watchmaker and jeweller
at the Skipton branch.
During the 1st World War Ted was called up for military service and
served with the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Corporal training at Aldershot,
and was then posted to the Military Hospital at Becketts Park in Leeds.
1917 he married Ethel and they lived in Leeds for a couple of years
while he was still working at Becketts Park.
In 1919 Ted started testing
in a terraced house
in Cambridge Street in Castleford. Within two years he had moved into
the first floor of Bank Chambers
on Carleton Street and then into another
property at the end of Carleton Street, before finally moving in 1932
to 103 Carlton Street (which is still the site of one of the company's
In 1921 Ted met Albert
Critchley at a meeting of
the Yorkshire Optical Society and they became friends. Albert had
been running a mobile opticians service in Boston Spa and the two men
teamed up to form a partnership and open a practice in Pontefract. Albert
still continued with his mobile work until the Pontefract practice became
The practice in Pontefract started in Gilligate before moving
to Salter Row and then in 1930 to Beast Fair. Salter Row was
kept on as a workshop. In 1970 the practice was moved to Ropergate.
This building was singled out for an award in the Pontefract
Civic Trust's 'Facade
of the Year'.
Ted was a keen advertiser of the business
in the local press, always writing and creating the layout himself. In
his business adverts he called himself E.W. Moorhouse, probably to avoid
confusion over the trading name he was using.
The practice was flourishing and in 1929 another shop was opened in Normanton.
In 1950 the Moorhouse and Critchley partnership was formed into the limited
company of Moorhouse Opticians.
David Moorhouse (Ted's youngest son) joined
the company in 1951 after returning from military service in Korea
and Albert's son Tony (after military service in the navy) also joined
The business continued to expand with new premises
in Sherburn-in-Elmet, Featherstone Tadcaster and Hemsford. The company
now has 7 practices and a further 6 practices in other areas of Yorkshire
in an associated company.
Mark Moorhouse and his brother Adrian (the grandsons
of Ted and sons of David) work in the business today together with Margaret
and Peter Critchley (the grandchildren of Albert and children of Tony). The
picture shows the interior of one of the modern Moorhouse Opticians.