The Pritchard Papers

Scope and Content

General papers, correspondence, plans, photographs, slides, and film accumulated during the lifetime of Jack Pritchard.

Refer to the System of arrangement for scope.

Administrative / Biographical History

Jack Pritchard described himself as an entrepreneur , although he trained at Cambridge as an engineer and economist.

Born in Hampstead in 1899, he served as a midshipman in WWI. In 1924 he married Molly Cooke, who became a practicing psychiatrist. They had two sons born in 1926 and 1928. Jack also shared a daughter with Beatrix Tudor Hart.

In 1925 Jack joined the Venesta Plywood Company and in 1928 he designed, with E.A. Brown, a sideboard in Plymax. He became deeply involved in reforming the British furniture industry, in new design and architecture developing on the Continent, education, and much else. He commissioned Le Corbusier to design a stand for Venesta at the Building Trades Exhibition in September 1930. At around this time he met the engineer/architect Wells Coates and also made several trips abroad. As a result of these trips and the contacts he made, Jack was one of the most informed people on international style architecture and design. His introduction of Henry Morris to Walter Gropius lead to Gropius's involvement in the design of Impington Village College.

Pritchard was a leading member of the Design and Industries Association, and he was also involved with Political and Economic Planning. The Pritchard's set up two companies in the 1930s: Isokon Ltd which was the umbrella body for architectural ventures in London, Birmingham and Manchester and which included Wells Coates's Lawn Road Flats which was opened in 1934; and Isokon Furniture Company which manufactured furniture and household equipment.

During the war Pritchard worked for the Ministries of Information, Supply and Fuel and Power. From 1949 until his retirement in 1963, he directed the Furniture Development Council.

Published works: View from a Long chair: the memoirs of Jack Pritchard . 1984  . London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.


  • PP/1: Biographical papers 1829-1996
  • PP/2: General correspondence 1934-1984
  • PP/3: Business activities 1925-1970
  • PP/4: Political and Economic Planning (PEP) 1931-1981
  • PP/5: Political correspondence 1920-1972
  • PP/6: Educational correspondence 1927-1972
  • PP/7: Design activities other than Isokon 1927-1964
  • PP/8: Correspondence with artists, designers and critics 1929-1978
  • PP/9: Correspondence with architects 1934-1981
  • PP/10: Sailing activities 1939-1985
  • PP/11: Refugee activities and correspondence 1938-1975
  • PP/12: Wartime activities 1939-1945
  • PP/13: Personal financial papers 1936-1983
  • PP/14: Papers given to learned bodies by Jack Pritchard 1946-1985
  • PP/15: Isokon Ltd 1928-1979
  • PP/16: Lawn Road Flats 1932-1972
  • PP/17: The Isobar 1937-1992
  • PP/18: Isokon Furniture Company 1932-1981
  • PP/19: Furniture Working Party 1945-1967
  • PP/20: Furniture Development Council 1943-1972
  • PP/21: Furniture Industry Research Association 1961-1983
  • PP/22: Henry Morris 1912-1985
  • PP/23: Wells Coates 1929-1979
  • PP/24: Walter and Ise Gropius 1930-1983
  • PP/25: Marcel Breuer 1936-1981
  • PP/26: Laászloó Moholy-Nagy 1936-1980
  • PP/27: Philip and Lella Florence 1934-1980
  • PP/28: Design and Industries Association 1925-1980
  • PP/29: Philip Morton Shand 1934-1938
  • PP/30: Family papers 1933-1983
  • PP/31: Rosemary Pritchard 1924-1973
  • PP/32: Maxwell Fry 1934-1986
  • PP/33: Articles and items of architectural and design interest 1949-1983
  • PP/34: Mansfield Forbes 1928-1936
  • PP/35: Isokon blueprints, drawings and tracings 1934-1978
  • PP/36: Gordon Russell 1940-1981
  • PP/37: Charlotte Perriand 1930-197?
  • PP/38: Roman Terlikowski and design in Poland 1978-198?
  • PP/39: The Half-Hundred Club 1937-1948
  • PP/40: Isokon financial records 1930-1965
  • PP/41: Jennifer Jones 1960-1983
  • PP/42: 8 Angel Lane, Blythburgh - miscellaneous papers 1963-1986
  • PP/43: Aldeburgh festival 1968-1976

Access Information

Other than where a specific access restriction is noted, the collection is open for consultation in the Archives Department by appointment during its advertised opening hours.

Acquisition Information

The papers were moved to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at UEA by December 1986, and in February 1988 they moved from the SCVA to UEA's Library.

In 1995 the collection was awarded grant-aid by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for conservation and the production of an online catalogue and a guide in both electronic and hard-copy form.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Reproductions can be supplied in hard copy or digital format subject to physical condition and the terms of deposit. A charge is made for this service. Copyright restrictions may apply and the advice of the Archives department should be sought for any use of reproductions other than personal research.

Custodial History

The collection now known as the Pritchard Papers accumulated during the lifetime of Jack Pritchard as a material record of that life. At some time between late April and the end of May 1972 Jack Pritchard gave his papers to the University of Newcastle. Sorting, arranging and listing of the materials was carried out in the School of Architecture. It was envisaged that they would be transferred to the Library and be known as The Jack Pritchard Collection of Documents.

In 1985 negotiations began between librarians of Newcastle University and the University of East Anglia, with Jack's approval and perhaps at his instigation.