HC Deb 19 December 1944 vol 406 cc1612-5
42. Mr. John Dugdale

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, having regard to the importance of design in post-war planning for industry, he is taking steps to encourage good design in British industry.

Mr. Dalton

Yes, Sir. I have appointed a Council of Industrial Design to promote by all practicable means the improvement of design in the products of British industry. I have also appointed, after consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, a Scottish Committee of the Council. I am glad to say that Sir Thomas Barlow has consented to become Chairman of the Council and Sir Steven Bilsland, Chairman of the Scottish Committee. Industries will be invited to set up Design Centres to study and encourage the improvement of design of their own products. The Government propose to make financial grants to these Centres on the recommendation of the new Council. Provision will be made for the expenses of the Council and for the grants to the Design Centres in the Estimates to be introduced this Session. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the members of the Council and of the Scottish Committee, and a copy of a letter which I have addressed to the Chairman defining the functions of the Council.

Mr. Driberg

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether practising designers will be represented on that Council—for instance, the Society of Industrial Artists?

Mr. Dalton

Nobody is represented in the strict sense, but I have, in fact, put several practising designers on the Council.

Following is the information:


Board of Trade,

Millbank, S.W.1.

19th December, 1944.


I am very glad that you have felt able to accept my invitation to become the first Chairman of the Council of Industrial Design. Now that the Council has been appointed and is ready to start work I think it will be useful to you if I set out, in some detail, the tasks which I propose that it should undertake.

The purpose of the Council is to promote by all practicable means the improvement of design in the products of British industry. Its main functions will be

  1. (a) to encourage and assist the establishment and conduct of Design Centres by industries, and to advise the Board of Trade on the grant of financial assistance to these Centres;
  2. (b) to provide a national display of well-designed goods by holding, or participating in, exhibitions and to conduct publicity for good design in other appropriate forms;
  3. (c) to co-operate with the Education Authorities and other bodies in matters affecting the training of designers;
  4. (d) to advise, at the request of Government Departments and other public bodies, on the design of articles to be purchased by them, and to approve the selection of articles to be shown in United Kingdom Pavilions in international exhibitions and in official displays in other exhibitions; and
  5. (e) to be a centre of information and advice both for industry and for Government Departments on all matters of industrial art and design.

The functions of the Design Centres, whose activities the Council will co-ordinate, will be:

  1. (a) to study the problem of design in relation to the products of the particular industry;
  2. (b) to collect and make available to the industry information relating to changes in public taste and trade practice in home and overseas markets and to hold exhibitions both at home and overseas;
  3. (c) to conduct and encourage research and experiment in the design of the products of the industry;
  4. (d) to co-operate with the Education Authorities and other bodies for the training of designers and in the provision of special equipment, prizes and grants, and to arrange factory visits and training in factories for art students.

Grants to Design Centres will be made by the Board of Trade, after consulting the Council, on a similar basis to that adopted by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research for Research Associations.

The Council will make an Annual Report on its activities, which will be presented by the President of the Board of Trade to Parliament.

I am confident that under your leadership the Council will become firmly established and, by promoting in British industry a real appreciation of the importance of design, will play a vital part after the war in stimulating the sale, at home and overseas, of a wide range of goods of which we can all be justly proud.

Yours sincerely,


Sir Thomas D. Barlow, K.B.E.

11, Wimpole Street, W.1.