6. Gordon Russell Design Museum
Just off the High Street in Russell Square is the Gordon Russell Design Museum, behind Russell’s Restaurant and opposite Budgens. The museum celebrates the life and work of Gordon Russell and his Company and the significant contribution to twentieth century furniture design over a 60 year period. Based in the original workshop, the galleries show a unique collection that guides the visitor across this rich period of design including Arts and Crafts, 30s streamline modernism, the Utility programme and 1980s luxury furniture for an international market.
Gordon Russell believed that the hand crafted tradition of British cabinet making could be fused with the possibilities of the machine and successfully mass produced furniture to the highest standards of craftsmanship alongside individual commissions.
The unique collection includes gems such as an ornate lace or glove box, a cabinet that won the Gold Medal at the Paris International Exhibition, a chest commissioned by Lloyd George and a small chair designed for the young Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. The variety of exhibits include casings for Murphy radios and an early television set, post war Utility furniture, the stacking chair designed for the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral, modern office furniture ranges and desk accessories.
Volunteer stewards include experienced guides who provide informal tours. Formal group tours can also be arranged. The archive holds an extensive collection of original drawings, notebooks, catalogues and correspondence which can accessed through prior appointment. Temporary exhibitions and talks run throughout the year.
The shop sells books on furniture design including Gordon Russell Trust publications as well as a good selection of high quality cards and postcards. It also stocks local crafts and artwork including pottery and ceramics, wood turning and fretwork, prints and handmade notebooks so it’s the ideal place to find a special gift.