Scope and Content

Files in DCA/4 provide an insight into the administration of all aspects of the Council"s finances, and it is one of the largest remaining groups of material in the Design Council archive, reflecting a broad spectrum of the Council"s financial affairs. As well as the costs incurred by any large organization in the routine management of its day-to-day affairs (travel and subsistence, printing, stationery, training, recruitment, and the maintenance of premises), they cover aspects of the Council"s legal, charitable and grant-aided status. Beyond this they relate to the costs involved in the delivery of the Council"s many initiatives: journal and book publishing, catalogue production, training, award schemes, retailing activities, and exhibitions. Two important sequences of files are "Estimates" (DCA/4/1293: 21 files covering the period 1955-1979), and estimates relating to displays at the Design Centre (DCA/4/1349: 18 files covering the period 1951-1977). It should always be assumed that additional financial information might be located within files covering the orchestration of particular initiatives.

Administrative / Biographical History

Despite early hopes, regular funding for the Council"s activities was not forthcoming from industry, and it remained largely dependent on government sponsorship. The regular round of negotiations over this grant provoked tensions between the Council, the UK government Board of Trade, and the Treasury. Under these circumstances, the capacities of the Council"s Finance Officer were crucial to the effective management and extension of the Council"s budget. Only three individuals filled this role between the 1940s and the 1980s: John Weyman, Arthur Sudbery and Mervyn Unger.


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.


Paddy Maguire, "Designs On Reconstruction: British Business, Market Structures And The Role Of Design In Post-War Recovery", Journal of Design History, 4:1 (1991), 15-30.

Paddy Maguire, "Craft Capitalism And The Projection Of British Industry In The 1950s And 1960s", Journal of Design History, 6:2 (1993), 97-113.