Industries and Industrial Associations

Scope and Content

Material in DCA/25 references the Council"s interactions with a wide variety of British manufacturing industries, and associations representing those industries. The files cover engagements with sectors as diverse as pottery, souvenirs, precious metals, street furniture, contract furniture, caravans and consumer goods. From the period just before the Council"s name change in 1972, engineering and engineering-related subjects such as technology and microprocessors take an increasingly prominent place. Suites of files relate to Farm Buildings (DCA/25/6); and hotels (DCA/25/9), each of which were serious areas of concern for the Council. Other notable files in the series include two relating to industrial tours carried out on the Council"s behalf by Lord Snowdon; one about a proposed design policy for the Co-operative Wholesale Society; and the single surviving file relating to the Council"s short-lived committee of housewives (DCA/25/295).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Industrial Division, with which this series is strongly associated, was formed in the financial year 1947-1948 under the leadership of Mark Hartland Thomas, and subsequently led by Paul Reilly and Alec Gardner-Medwin. Each managed the work of a gradually increasing number of industrial officers, who each liaised with a defined group of industries. During the early years, the Council"s main impetus was directed towards the encouragement of the formation of industry-specific Design Centres, towards which the Board of Trade would contribute initial funding. Once the decision was made to create a single Design Centre for British Industries in London (opened 1956), engagement with the different industrial sectors assumed a different guise, but each initiative was still intended to reinforce the Council"s central message about design standards.


The surviving files have been retaine din 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 amendments by Sue Breakell, August 2010.

Related Material

For further documentation of the proposed Design Centres, see DCA/5.


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

Whitworth, Lesley, "The Housewives' Committee of the Council of Industrial Design: A Short-lived Experiment in Domestic Reconnoitring' in Elizabeth Darling and Lesley Whitworth (eds), 'Women and the Making of Built Space in England, 1860-1950', Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate, 2007, 180-196.

Jonathan M. Woodham, "An Episode in post-Utility Design Management: the Council of Industrial Design and the Co-operative Wholesale Society", in Judy Attfield (ed), 'Utility Reassessed: The Role of Ethics in the Practice of Design', Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999, 39-57

Whitworth, Lesley, "Promoting Product Quality: the Co-op and the Council of Industrial Design", in Lawrence Black and Nicole Robertson (eds), 'Taking Stock: The Co-operative Movement in Twentieth Century Britain', Manchester: Manchester University Press, (2009).