George Sterrop (1715-1756) and family

The Sterrop family of opticians seems to have been founded by Thomas (1687-1728) and Richard Sterrop. Thomas started his apprenticeship in the Spectaclemakers Company in 1669, completing it in 1679. Richard started his in 1677. Thomas’ wife, Jane Cowdell, began what seems to have become a tradition in the family by running the family business for 18 years after her husband’s death. The family business seem to have produced and sold the usual range of instruments, including spectacles, sundials, telescopes and microscopes.

The couple had 2 sons, Ralph (1660-1736) and Thomas (1687-1728), both of whom were opticians. Ralph became Master of the Spectaclemakers Company (1705-1706), wrote an instruction book for use with his microscopes, and was partnered by John Yarwell at the Archimedes and Three Pairs of Golden Spectacles on Ludgate St for a few years. The two men had a rancorous fight with 2 former staff members in the Daily Courant of 1707 after the former staff had made ridiculous claims for their own products in advertisements. Ralph did not have any children.

Thomas served his apprenticeship with his father. He married Mary Phipps (1692-1771). George (1715-1756) did his apprenticeship with his mother, who ran the business after her husband’s death, until George was old enough to take over. George’s widow, Avis Jeffries ran the business until her death in 1766 when Mary took the reins again.

In 1767, the company was taken over by Peter Dollond, son of John Dollond (inventor of the achromatic doublet).