London Design Centre

Scope and Content

The files in this series are largely made up of four key file sequences. There are 74 files related to the Council"s home exhibitions programme (DCA/10/1568). There are 59 files related to the Council"s annual award programme for well-designed British products (DCA/10/1646). There are 34 files related to the British Poster Design Awards (DCA/10/377). Finally there are 27 files related to the promotion of the Design Centre in overseas contexts (DCA/10/1572). Many of the remaining 29 files relate to aspects of Design Centre management: invitation and guest lists, badging, catering, receptions, promotion of the Council"s label designating well-designed products, leaflet production and poster distribution. A collection of ephemera relating to Design Centre promotion, including over 200 posters, is also in this series, under the sub-series DCA/10/1.

Administrative / Biographical History

On 26 April 1956 Prince Philip opened the "Design Centre for British Industries" in London. This represented the end of a long fought campaign by the Council of Industrial Design, which desired a shop window to promote its own activities in support of British industry, and marked a triumph for all those who had advocated the need for a permanent display of British manufactured products in the nation"s capital. The building in Haymarket became the Council"s new home and was managed between 1956 and 1966 by Major General J M (Jack) Benoy, who joined the body in 1949. A vibrant programme of exhibitions took place in the display space downstairs, while in the offices above plans were made for exhibitions around the country and overseas.


The surviving files have been retained in their original numeric order as allocated by the Council"s Registry. This means that records in a series do not necessarily have consecutive file numbers, and may not be located together.

Archivist's Note

Record created by Lesley Whitworth, with minor edits by Sue Breakell, August 2010.

Related Material


Moriarty, Catherine, 'A backroom service? The photographic library of the Council of Industrial Design, 1946-1965', Journal of Design History 13:1 (2000), 39-57.

Whitworth, Lesley, "Anticipating Affluence: Skill, Judgement and the Problems of Aesthetic Tutelage' in L. Black and H. Pemberton (eds), 'An Affluent Society? Britain's Post-War 'Golden Age' Revisited', Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004, 167-183.

Moriarty, Catherine, "Bernard Schottlander"s Industrial Design as a System of Appearances", in Catherine Moriarty and Victoria Worsley (eds), 'Indoors and Out: The Sculpture and Design of Bernard Schottlander' (Henry Moore Institute Essays on Sculpture, No. 56), 3-7.