Journal

Terence Conran Timeline

04 May 2014

Terence Conran Timeline


  • 1931 - Born in Kingston upon Thames

  • 1948 - Enrolled in Central School of Arts & Crafts

  • 1949 - Started workshop in Eastend with Eduardo Paolozzi making furniture

  • 1950 - On the advice of his tutor leaves course at Central to work for architect Dennis Lennon. In the evenings he works on a window display in Simpsons, Piccadilly

  • 1952 - Opens Conran & Company from a basement in Notting Hill, selling furniture from a basement showroom in Piccadilly Arcade

  • 1953 - Opens Soup Kitchen in Chandos Place, inspired by the elegant simplicity of affordable restaurants in France at the time. It housed the second Gaggia machine in London

  • 1954 - Opens Orrery on Kings Road

  • 1955 - Started Conran Fabrics

  • 1956 - Set up Conran Design Group, designing among other things a store design for Mary Quant in Knightsbridge

  • 1963 - Moved his operations to 40,000 square foot factory in Thetford, Norfolk, taking 80 families with him

  • 1964- Habitat retail store opens in Chelsea with staff in uniforms by Mary Quant and hair styled by Vidal Sassoon

  • 1965 - Habitat opens second branch on Tottenham Court Road

  • 1966 - Habitat opens further branches in Manchester, Brighton and Glasgow

  • 1970 0 Neal Street Restaurant opens, which until it’s recent closure was run by Terence’s sister Priscilla and her husband, Antonio Carluccio.

  • 1973 - Habitat’s largest branch opens on Kings’ Road and first branch of Conran shop opens on site of original Habitat store

  • 1976 - Opens Habitat shop in Citicorp building in Manhattan under the name Conran

  • 1980 - Conran Foundation set up, dedicated to educating the public and British industry on the values of industrial design. Habitat becomes a public company.

  • 1981 - Boilerhouse (the initial incarnation of the Design Museum) opens at the V&A.

  • 1982 - Purchased Mothercare; launch of Habitat Basics so popular in Japan that Seibu (the department store that franchised the line) developed the ‘no brand’ formula to create Muji.

  • 1983 - Receives his knighthood from Buckingham Palace to become Sir Terence Conran

  • 1985- Conran Octopus created with Paul Hamlyn to produce educational but inspiring books about interiors, gardening and cookery

  • 1986 - Benchmark furniture-making company set up in the grounds of his home in Berkshire.

  • 1987 - Buys the Michelin Building in Fulham Road and refurbishes it to become home for the Conran Shop, Octopus publishing and Bibendum restaurant

  • 1989 - Design Museum opens at Butlers Wharf - "to encourage this country to become a workshop again"; we "need to encourage people to make things". Its job is "to educate, at all sorts of levels, from schoolchildren to industrialists".

  • 1991- Conran Restaurants set up.

  • 1994 – Conran Shop opens in Shinjuku Park Tower in Tokyo
  • 1999 – Conran Shop opens in New York
  • 2000 – Opening, in partnership with Wyndham International, of London’s Great Eastern Hotel which became one of London’s most successful hotels
  • 2003 – Named Provost for the Royal College of Art. Starts developing the Conran Collections, a series of brand licensed products that reflect his lifelong philosophy to bring good quality, contemporary homewares to a wider audience. Ranges now include Bed by Conran, Light by Conran, Terence Conran by Royal Doulton, Content by Conran and Vision by Conran
  • 2004 – Awarded Prince Philip Designer of the Year award for services to design.
  • 2007- Launches range of cookware for Royal Doulton. Becomes an honourary Doctor of Science at Southbank University. Releases book Design: Intelligence Made Visible, with Stephen Bayley
  • 2012 – Design Museum Exhibition: Terence Conran – The Way We Live Now from Awarded The Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy which celebrates the impact of givers to the arts.
  • 2013 – a collaboration with JCPenney that brings his easy living aesthetic to the masses
  • 2016 – Terence Conran: My Life in Design published.
  • 2017 – Continues to build his restaurant business with Peter Prescott and Benchmark, his furniture making company.


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