Widely known as a cutlery and metalware designer, manufacturer, and retailer, David Mellor was elected as a Royal Designer for Industry in 1962. Bridging the gap between industrial design and the crafts he later became director of the Crafts Council (1982). Born in Sheffield, the centre of the British cutlery industry, he studied at Sheffield College of Art (1946–8) before going on to the Royal College of Art (RCA, 1950–3) where he was in one of the first cohorts of the new M.Des. degree that included nine months in industry. He also studied at the British School in Rome (1953–4). In the early 1950s many of the RCA graduates featured in exhibitions outside the RCA; Mellor featured in a student exhibition at Liberty's in 1952, reported in Design magazine. Early design successes included the Pride silver cutlery (1954), Pride silver teaset (1958), and Symbol cutlery (1961), all manufactured by Walker and Hall. He received one of the first Design Centre Awards in 1957 for the first, another in 1959 for the second, and a third for the Symbol cutlery and flatware in 1962. He was also given a Design Centre Award for his Embassy silver teapot (1962) for the Ministry of Public Works. Many of these elegant designs were in line with the principles of ‘Good Design’ espoused by the Council of Industrial Design (see Design Council) and also reflected some of the ideals of post‐Second World War Scandinavian design that were admired by many of Mellor's generation. He also worked on larger‐scale engineering products such as the design of a gear‐measuring machine (1965) for J. Goulder and a range of street furniture designs that included a letterbox (1966) for the Post Office, and a bus shelter (1957) and traffic lights (1969) for the Ministry of Transport. His reputation was such that he was chosen as one of four representatives of British industrial design in an international exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 1968. However, it is with cutlery that he has become most widely known and in the late 1960s he opened the first of a number of Davis Mellor shops in London and elsewhere selling cutlery and kitchenware. He established a cutlery workshop in Sheffield in the mid‐1970s, moving into a purpose‐built modern factory in Hathersage, Derbyshire, in the late 1980s. Named the Round Building, the factory was designed by Sir Michael Hopkins and has won a number of architectural awards. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Royal College of Art in 2000 and was made a CBE in 2001.
Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art — Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.