Our History - 1960 to now













We trace our origins all the way back to 1960; when Ophthalmic Optician, Mr Melvyn Shalks opened an optometric practice in his Mother's front room in Bradford.

Our Leeds practice opens its doors. 18 years later we take over the bigger unit next door and have practiced in the area for 56 years.

Melvyn Shalks is employed as an optometrist at Sunwin House, Bradford. We later take this practice as our own, through the years as the Co-op and then TJ Hughes.

As a 16 year old Schoolboy Michael Betts joins the practice and soon after begins training as a dispensing optician

Mr Betts becomes a partner in the now "Shalks and Betts Opticians"

"Michael Betts Opticians" is formed with the semi-retirement of Melvyn Shalks

In January Alan Smith joins the practice as sole optometrist and with a long-term contract to take ownership, securing practice stability with the planned retirement of Michael Betts

After over 40 years involved with the building (as Sunwin House, the Co-op and TJ Hughes) we were left homeless in Bradford... TJ Hughes ceased trading nationwide and the building is still empty to this day.

In October of 2011, after the first three months in 50 years without an open practice in Bradford, we were proud to open our brand new practice in Greengates. 

Michael Betts retires - leaving Alan Smith in charge as owner and optometrist of the newly formed company -

"A. Smith Opticians Ltd. Trading as Michael Betts Opticians"

After an extremely busy and hectic first year we re-launch as A. Smith Opticians, with new frames, all new designer names, new contact lens suppliers, new lens options, brand new website, new social media presence and a completely new look for our Leeds practice.

We are extremely proud to open our brand new flagship practice in Harrogate. Boasting fabulous, bespoke displays, cutting edge technology in both the consulting room and dispensing areas and loads of  amazing, exclusive new frames.

After several months of discussions and with a heavy heart we close the doors on our Armley practice. A fantastic offer from our friend and colleague at Goldwyn Opticians allows us to spend more time at our Greengates and Harrogate practice and happily more time with our young family. All patient records are handed to the very capable hands at Goldwyn's


The whole world was turned upside down by the global pandemic. We sadly had to close the doors for several months to safeguard our staff, patients and the business. We're now delighted to re-open with our whole new look at Greengates, some brand new designers and plenty of new safety features to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all of our patients new and old.