Monday, 23 January 2012

David Mellor 1930 - 2009

This post was done at the request of Mark at 'All things Ruffnerian' 

David Mellor
David Mellor was one of the best known designers in Britain. He trained originally as a silversmith, but during the course of his distinguished career, he designed a great variety of products; some of which are common place objects we see daily. The national traffic light signalling system, Post Office pillar boxes, street lighting, bollards and litter bins. 

The interior of the David Mellor Design Museum with Cafė in Hathersage, Derbyshire.
His training as a silversmith gave him a particular affinity for metalwork design and his silver is in many international collections. He is, however, most famous for his cutlery which has won numerous design awards, he has often been called the cutlery king. 
Pride cutlery in sterling silver
Mellor's now classic Pride cutlery was designed in 1953 when he was still a student at the Royal College of Art. It was included in the first of the Design Centre Awards in 1957, and has been in continuous production ever since. It is on display in numerous museums worldwide as a prime example of 20th C modernist design.
In 1969, David Mellor opened his London shop in Sloan Square.  It soon became a focal point of Swinging Sixties, Chelsea, and remains one of London's most original and individual shops.
His country shop is at Hathersage, Derbyshire, near Chatsworth, in the dramatic High Peak landscape. This shop has a special emphasis on the superb modern cutlery and kitchen knives made in the Round Building factory alongside the shop. It also carries lots of pieces made by other distinguished Designers from around the world. A place to visit with a nice fat purse full of money.
The Round Building factory, Hathersage, Derbyshire
David Mellor died 2½ years ago. His son, Corin, a versatile furniture and product designer on his own account, is now the creative director. His widow is Fiona MacCarthy, biographer and cultural historian; She is the acclaimed writer of Eric Gill, C.R. Ashbee, and William Morris etc.
glass bowls designed by Corin Mellor
 images courtesy David Mellor catalogue


  1. Dear Rosemary,

    Thank you for both the posting and the link! And thank you for introducing me to David Mellor. I like his silverware, but I especially appreciate a designer who raises the standard of public design. Here in the United States, our cityscapes are being overrun with large-scale, ugly plastic design,* and we need only look at the legacy of David Mellor to know that this needn't be the case.

    *The state of Vermont, a center of strong individuals, is the exception, for years having banned billboards, and requiring store signage (even including McDonald's) to be made of wood.

    1. Our Grandson has an interest in becoming a Product Designer which we are pleased about. The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) encourages good design in this country.
      I am glad you enjoyed the post, and I have not forgotten that you wanted me to do one on Sudbury Hall at some time.

  2. Hello Rosemary:
    David Mellor was indeed a consummate design professional, turning his hand to an extremely wide range of products. We love the simplicity of his designs which, of course, are always allied to practicality of function.

    The David Mellor store in Sloane Square is always a port of call when we are in London but we knew nothing of the Design Museum and Country Shop in Hathersage. We should certainly wish to visit one day but must take your advice and save our pennies before we go!!

    1. Dear Jane & Lance - The Derbyshire shop is a very pleasant outing, and if you visit during the week it is possible to go into the round workshop building and see the cutlery being made.
      Whenever we visit we always seem to come away with a David Mellor carrier bag containing a few goodies.

  3. A great post. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Never heard of David Mellor.
    i like to learn about places, people, atrists i don`t know of.
    ( and God! there is so much i don`t know of!)
    thank you for sharing such great posts : )

    1. Dear Demie - you are such a delight, you just know how to make someone feel good. Thank you for your lovely comments.

  5. Thank you Rosemary, you have such an easy, informative writing style. I had never heard of David Mellor. What a wonderful legacy he has left behind, both, in his work and now the work continued by his son.

    1. Dear Rosemary - thank you for your lovely comments. David Mellor has indeed left a huge legacy here although perhaps most people do not realise it. The street furniture all over the country was mainly designed by him. He also designed wonderful silverware for the British Embassies around the world.

  6. I will take a look at David Mellor's work... Incredible man.
    You always write such informative blogs Rosemary. Now i can say i know who designed the street furniture in England..
    I must put this on my list of places to visit on my next visit to UK..

    I am here again.. thanks for following me Rosemary..
    best wishes val

    1. Dear Val - Hopefully your blog problems have now been resolved.
      Mostly, I think, we take all of the objects around us for granted not realising that they have been designed for us. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  7. Hello, Rosemary.

      Your splendid works enhance charm spectator still more.
      The warmth such as the fireplace will be offered to the audience in harsh this winter.

      Thank you for kindly visiting my blog.

      The prayer for all peace.
    Have a good weekend. From Japan, ruma ❃

    1. Dear Ruma thank you for visiting and for your lovely comments. From your photos I see that you do have a cold winter with lots of ice and snow. Take care.


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