Britain’s Royal Mail has issued a set of ten stamps celebrating 20th-century British design classics. Was available from Tuesday 13th January 2009.
‘We always like to start the year with a classic and this year we’re launching our Special Stamp programme with ten, in one very special issue – British Design Classics.
Britain has produced some of the world’s most iconic design work of the 20th Century and to help us select which icons to choose we gathered together a panel of experts from the world of design to help us make the final cut.
From the distinctive lines of R J Mitchell’s Spitfire fighter and the stylish chic of Mary Quant’s daring mini skirt to the calm of the Penguin Books jacket and the practicality of Robin Day’s Polypropylene chair.
But there’s one brilliant design that remains close to millions of people’s hearts – the Mini. Fifty years ago, in 1959, the first Minis rolled off the production lines at the British Motor Corporation’s plants at Longbridge, Birmingham and Cowley in Oxford.
Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, the revolutionary small car remained in production until 2000 and is the most popular British designed and built car ever. Not only that but its stylish design made it a hit with the trend setters of the swinging sixties with everyone from John Lennon and Marianne Faithfull to Peter Sellers and Steve McQueen owning one.’
1st Class – Supermarine Spitfire
The superlative Battle of Britain fighter with its distinctive elliptical wings was designed by R J Mitchell who sadly died before the plane went into production.
1st Class Large – Mini Skirt
Mary Quant rewrote the fashion rules for women forever with her daring design.
1st Class – The Mini
Sir Alec Issigonis made use of every available space in the small car that was as much a fashion statement as a means of transport.
1st Class – Anglepoise Lamp
George Carwardine’s flexible design brought light wherever it was needed.
1st Class – Concorde
Aerospatiale and BAC’s supersonic jet was capable of twice the speed of sound and beautiful to look at too.
1st Class – K2 Telephone Kiosk
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s design bright-red phone box always stood out on the streets of the UK.
1st Class – Polypropylene Chair
Found in public buildings throughout the world, almost everyone will have sat on a Robin Day chair at some time.
1st Class – Penguin Books
Edward Young’s book jacket design was instantly recognizable as a Penguin edition.
1st Class – London Underground Map
Harry Beck’s easy to understand design was based on an electrical wiring diagram.
1st Class – Routemaster Bus
Once a symbol of London to visitors from all over the world now only a few of Douglas Scott and Colin Curtis’s remain on London’s streets.