Design

Designers in Britain (1949)

LESTARET-DJ-1Every so often libraries will ‘retire’ a number of books from their stacks, often because they are too worn to repair, or have not been borrowed for many years. Sometimes, the subject matter becomes irrelevant or superseded, authors and their viewpoints change, evolve or become obsolete. These days, many books only exist as digital files also. Alas.

If you are lucky and you like old books, some of them can be snapped up for a few quid before they are finally discarded to whatever sorry fate awaits them. This is one such book.

Originally issued in 1951 to the Royal College of Art central library, the book is a showcase of the best of British Design published in 1949, this was last signed out in 1999 and procured for the princely sum of three whole English pounds.

I present the following images without comment for your viewing pleasure…

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Ok, so the images were presented without comment, but here’s one anyway.

This book is an accurate snapshot of a section of our culture in the years following WWII and shows how a country still in the grip of wartime deprivations (remember that rationing did not end until 1954 in the UK) was recovering and forging a new identity.

That no-one has signed out this book for almost 16 years doesn’t really surprise me, but does seem to reflect the current attitudes towards our design history.

Many thanks to Nick for the loan of this gem.

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3 thoughts on “Designers in Britain (1949)

  1. What’s this, old books you say? Count me in Mr Lestaret. Some lovely shots of this fine old volume, I particularly like the ‘monotype’ pages which still manage to look surprisingly fresh in 2016. I do love the flexibility and ease of use afforded by digital music files but I’ll never be able to understand the allure of the ebook over such beautiful artefacts as this.

  2. Alas, alas. I agree sir. Wholeheartedly. And those Monotype pages are letterpress printed upon a thicker Matt stock – the rest of book is gravure printed on a quality coated paper, but you can really see and feel the difference….

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