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Cranmers is one of the oldest Optical Practices in the UK

Often we are providing eye-care for three generations of the same family! At Cranmers we strive to provide excellent service, quality of care and value for money. We are constantly working on this and value your feedback to continue this development.

History of Cranmers


Established by H.E Cranmer in 1908, the practice was originally located on the opposite side of Park Street. Mr Cranmer practised there for over 30 years.

The next optician was Mr Pickford who married Mr Cranmer’s daughter. For the next 30 years he worked in partnership with Mr Askew, under the practice name of Cranmer and Askew, with the addition of an extra partner Mr Gaylard, who died in 1968 aged only 46.

1960 – 1970

Mr Derek Webb then joined the practice in 1969, and upon Mr Askew’s exit formed a partnership with Mr Melhuish that lasted until Mr Webb’s retirement in 2004.

1970 – 2004

Mrs Melhuish, also an optician, joined the practice in 1984.

Mr Webb and Mr Melhuish also opened a small practice in Tiverton in 1979, which continued until 2002.

Mr Askew returned to Minehead in 1975 and opened a small branch practice above Barclays Bank, continuing to practice into his 80s.

2008 – Present Day

Mr Melhuish officially retired from the practice in 2008 but continued to work alongside its current owners until 2010 at which point he decided to put down his ophthalmoscope for good! In the last few years Mr Askews son, Anthony Askew returned to the practice to help out with optometry duties when needed. He was born in Minehead above the practice some 70 years ago! After over 50 years of service to optometry Anthony Askew retired in 2013.

To bring Cranmers heritage up to date, the current caretakers of this historical practice are Damien Reavey and Kate Webb, who between them have over 30 years of optical experience.

We have many patients who have been coming to the practice for over 40 years, and one who has been coming since 1928!

Cranmers had a written aim on their first appointment card… “A complete and thorough examination for every patient, irrespective of income”, this is a philosophy that has been at the heart of the practice ever since.

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