Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Robert Radford Welch

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Robert Radford Welch (1929–2000), designer and silversmith

1929 Born in Hereford, the only son of Leonard Welch and his wife, Dorothy Perkins.

Trained at Malvern School of Art.

1950-52 Studied silversmithing at Birmingham College of Art

1952-55 Studied at the Royal College of Art. He began to think of himself as a designer and a silversmith.

1955 Welch set up as a freelance designer–craftsman. He worked part time as consultant designer to Old Hall Tableware, the only British firm of any consequence producing stainless steel cutlery and tableware at Bloxwich, just north of Birmingham.

1959 He married Patricia Marguerite Hinksman. He worked as a silversmith, producing church and presentation silver, and domestic tableware of moving simplicity.

With the help of Gordon Russell, he found a workshop in an old silk mill in Chipping Campden. Some of his early designs — Alveston cutlery (1961), the Westclox alarm clock (1962), and the Chantry knife sharpener (1963) — were classics of their time.

1965 appointed a royal designer for industry

1969 Opened a shop in the High Street, selling his own designs.

He worked as a designer of stainless steel cutlery and tableware, for Old Hall until 1970 and later for Prestige, the Japanese company Yamazaki, and others. And he worked as a designer of all kinds of domestic products, door furniture, pottery, light fittings, and kitchen tools.

1980 Made an MBE.

1991 Opened another shop in Warwick.

2000 Died in Warwick. His company, Robert Welch Designs, was carried on by his children.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • Biography of Robert Radford Welch, ODNB