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A Family Affair

By Optica Machin | 28 Aug 2019
Thomas, Henry and Family Family at War Grandpa Reginald Antony Gladstone  data-caption= > Duchess of York

Optica Machin was established in Estepona in the year 2000 as a partnership between Jane Staunton Machin and her father, Reginald Antony Staunton. The history of the business can be traced back over four generations. The first record of the business was in 1881.

In 1887, in gratitude for the treatment he received Gladstone presented Thomas with a collection of his books, quaintly called ‘Eight Interesting Volumes of the Great Statesman’s Works’. In 1895, the then Duchess of York, perhaps better known as Victoria Mary, Mary of Teck, who was married to the future King George V, honoured Thomas with a letter of gratitude sent from the then Royal residence, White Lodge, Richmond Park, Surrey.

Thomas died in 1924 and the business was continued by another Thomas Henry Staunton, Jane’s grandfather. He was born in 1887 and served in the Royal Navy through WWI. He trained on the HMS Impregnable, and as a fluent French speaker, he became a liaison officer between the British and French and his sisters served as nurses in France. After the war, he started working as an optician and had practices in East London and Canvey Island in Essex. After the 1953 floods, the practice was moved to Benfleet but was re-established on Canvey in 1954 after his son, Reginald, Jane’s father, qualified.

Reginald Antony Staunton was born in 1924 and served as a Marine Engineering Artificer, having joined up at the age of 14. As a naval cadet, he helped the survivors of Dunkirk who arrived at Chatham Docks. Later in his career, Reg was gunnery engineer on a destroyer during the Normandy landings. His ship was then sent out to the Far East and there he witnessed first-hand the Kamikaze pilots and finally the surrender of the Japanese. Reg was still serving in the Far East when he was de-mobbed in 1952. During the many hours on board ship, Reg studied by correspondence course. When he came back into Civvy street, he enrolled in Northampton College in North London and qualified as an optician in 1954. He was part of the new NHS service which provided free eye tests and glasses to all UK citizens.

Reg eventually ran three practices in the Essex and the east London area with his partner John Notley. The practices were sold in 1972 when John retired and Reg continued working as a locum until retiring in his late seventies. He died in 2011

In 1966 Northampton College became City University. And it was from here, the same school attended by her father, that Jane qualified as an Optometrist in 1981.

Jane came to live in Estepona permanently in 1987 and the rest, so they say, is history.

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