National Archives – Kew, London

This is where the serious research began. I had seen a number of DURON pieces with a Reg No written on them. I had a hunch that this may have been a formal registration number. In fact records are created as a result of the Registered Designs Act 1949. Occasionally some designs take many months to be finally approved and some never make it to final approval, but it’s better than nothing.

Luckily in the UK, registration numbers can all be accessed for free.

The National Archives, based in Kew, Richmond, has all the British Trade records since 1839! You can have a look for yourself at the Index that is available online here. The two key areas of research are in the BT 53 non-textile records which hold the original Registration records as shown on a number of the pages (and below)


By looking up the registration numbers found on some of the pieces, it is possible to see who the original designer was, and when the design was registered. The BT 52 documents then show what the original design looked like either as a photo or a sketch.

It’s a long process for looking at every sheet checking for the designers of interest (most of which were unknown by name before I started), but eventually you can find them all. So far I’ve managed to get through over 60 design index books, covering over 10 years, and nearly 100 folders with the images. Over the course of those 10 years, I’ve seen many other designs being registered and it really is an insight into modern history when you see the following being registered for the first time:

  • Electronic typewriters
  • Pepsi-cola bottles
  • Ball point pens
  • Ties!

Archives Only – So here are all the designs that I have found in the National Archives but not yet seen in the outside world (e.g. eBay, Picclick, Worthpoint and so on).

Some of the designs never made it to formal registration but the pieces were made and did make it into the market. Maybe some of the designers did not want the expense of registering the design and just sold it anyway!

Not Registered – Click here for the ones I have found so far.