Manchester Metropolitan University Design Archive

The Department of History of Art and Design’s slide library is home to the Design Council’s slide collection, where it is being catalogued by curator John Davies and his team. This publicly- accessible archive consists of around 22 500 transparencies from the period 1950 to 1993 by the Design Council (and the Council of Industrial Design, as it was called before 1972). The library holds a diverse range of British design images from interior design, furniture, graphics, lighting, textiles, wallpapers and product design to architecture, town planning and engineering. As well as the key period after World War II up until 1990, some earlier material is also included.

Images range from BG Bowden’s prototype electric bicycle from 1946 (above right), displayed at the Britain Can Make It exhibition and held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, to the ZX81 personal computer by Sinclair Research in 1981, which won a Design Council Award.

While the collection is run primarily as an educational resource by the Department of History of Art and Design, the library has seen increasing demand for commercial use of slides, which can be loaned, bought or licensed for publication.

So far, the library has digitised just over 3000 transparencies in high resolution (2700 dpi) format and has plans to make images available via the Internet as part of its goal to improve the accessibility of the collection. Unlike its sister library in Brighton, the archive has not been added to since its transfer from the Design Council in 1995.

Contact: John Davis, curator 0161 247 1943

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