Christian Barman (1898–1980) British industrial designer

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Christian Barman black and white photo
Christian Barman black and white photo

Christian Barman (1898–1980) was a key first-generation British industrial designer during the interwar years. He is best known for his 1936 electric iron for HMV, which he started designing in 1933.


He studied architecture at Liverpool University and ran his practice until Frank Pick invited him to join London Transport as a Publicity Officer in 1935.

UK VINTAGE 1940'S HMV Bentinck Kettle bu Christian barman
UK VINTAGE 1940’S HMV Bentinck Kettle by Christian barman

Until 1941, he was a central figure in presenting the company’s design plan. Under Pick’s leadership, the latter had undergone a period of radical innovation in construction, facilities, advertising, graphic design, and street furniture.

Electric Fan Heater c.1934 by Christian Barman
Electric Fan Heater c.1934 by Christian Barman

Post-war years

Barman was head of publicity for the British Transport Commission from 1947 to 1963, after working as assistant director of Postwar Construction at the Ministry of Works and publicity officer for the Great Western Railway.

In 1948, he was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry. From 1949 to 1950, he was president of the Society of Industrial Artists (see Chartered Society of Designers). In 1963, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. He also edited the Architectural Review and the Architects’ Journal. He wrote many design books, including Early British Railways and Frank Pick: The Man Who Designed London Transport (1979).


Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.

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