Andrew Pritchard (1804-1882)

The son of John Pritchard of Hackney and his wife Ann Fleetwood (a descendant of Oliver Cromwell), Andrew Pritchard seems to have been more of a gentleman inventor than a full time optician. In the 19th century British census, he described himself in 1841 as a “gentleman” and then from 1851 as a “landowner”. However, he did have workshops in London from which he sold lenses, microscopes and other articles of use in microscopy. From 1827-1835, he traded from 18 Pickett St, from 1835-1838 he was at 263 Strand, and then from 1838-1854 his address was 162 Fleet Street. At least one of his surviving microscopes has different addresses on its foot and tube.

On leaving school, Pritchard was apprenticed to his cousin, Cornelius Varley. Varley was a famous painter and microscope inventor who eventually became Andrew’s brother-in-law. Under his influence, Prichard began improving microscopes, and was eventually able to make lenses from gemstones including a diamond. However, he is best remembered for his beautifully-illustrated books, often co-authored by C.R. Goring MD, on microscopes and microorganisms, especially the infusoria.

None of his children became microscopists.