Authors' Club Lunch with Travis Elborough

December 17, 2021 12:30 pm

The humble pair of glasses might just be one of the world’s greatest inventions, allowing millions to see a world that might otherwise appear a blur. Yet how much do many of us really think about these things perched on the ends of our noses?

Travis ElboroughIn his eye-opening history Through the Looking Glasses, Travis Elborough traces the fascinating story of spectacles from primitive visual aids for monkish scribes to the augmented reality of Google Glass, via encounters with ingenious medieval Italian glassmakers, myopic Renaissance rulers and spectacle-makers and opticians in the Londons of Samuel Pepys, Dr Johnson, and Sherlock Holmes.

We learn how eyeglasses were the making of the silent movie star Harold Lloyd and the rock’n’roller Buddy Holly and helped liberate an exasperated John Lennon from Beatlemania. Get hip to horn-rims with Dizzy Gillespie and Michael Caine, and see girls in glasses through the lenses of crime fiction by Dorothy L Sayers and Raymond Chandler and the screen presence of Marilyn Monroe.

‘Elegant and multi-focal. Glorious!’ – Simon Garfield

Acclaimed by the Guardian as ‘one of the country’s finest pop culture historians’, Travis Elborough has been a freelance writer, author, broadcaster and cultural commentator for nearly two decades. Elborough’s books include Wish You Were Here: England on Sea, The Long-Player Goodbye, a hymn to vinyl records that inspired a BBC4 documentary, and A Walk in the Park, a loving exploration of public parks and green space. Elborough regularly appears on Radio 4, recently wrote and presented the five-part series The Rise and Fall of the Antique, and is a frequent contributor to the Guardian and Observer among other newspapers and magazines.

To book please contact the booking office at or call 020 7968 0912.

The two-course lunch starting at 12:30pm followed by coffee and mints costs £30. Please book early and inform the club of any dietary requirements.