The Mullard Sculpture Competition


‘Keith Goodwin, announced last week as winner of the Mullard Research Laboratories’ sculpture competition is nothing if not honest.’

So, 50 years ago, starts a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of May 3rd 1961.

‘In the notes accompanying his model he says: “The theme after the pursuit of a number of electronic concepts not understood, evolved as a simple statement that opposite poles attract and like poles repel.’


‘He received his cheque for 500 guineas from the hand of Mr S.S. Eriks, managing director of Mullard Limited, after Sir Kenneth Clark, one of the judges, had described the sculpture as “a  remarkably good piece of work.”


Now a full-sized model will be made and erected at Mullard’s new Salford Research Laboratories.’



  1. I was at MRL from 1954-1963. I seem to remember the unveiling of the sculpture was by a very old Mr Mullard. I was the radiation safety person, and people in a lab overlooking the ceremony wanted to dissuade people from entering by pretending that it was a radiation hazard area. I declined to cooperate!!

  2. Fascinating story of the Hepworth sculpture. I came across your site after some initial research on Keith Godwin as my wife’s father sent me some early pictures of their home Parkleys in Ham, London. A Keith Godwin sculpture was placed in the ornamental garden there.

  3. Indeed this was Salfords, Surrey (between Redhill and Horley on the A23). The remaining Philips business moved out in 2008 (with ‘research’ relocating to Cambridge Science Park, and ‘applied technology’ to Redhill for a couple of years before closing completely). The site was flattened in 2009.

  4. The competition sculpture was a concrete thingy almost completely obscured by bushes in a flowerbed in the front lawn. It was slowly disintegrating when the site was sold and brown-fielded. The Hepworth rusted for many years in a cupboard until Salford’s 50th, when somebody remembered it, found it and cleaned it up. If you’d found it in its cupboard years you could probably have taken it out as worthless scrap. Amazing how adding a name changes your view of an object.

  5. Here is the Hepworth you mention:
    I think the one by Keith Goodwin one is something different.

  6. Mullards did something similar in the late 1960s where some exhibits were made from cement filled with reject transistors which gave a glistening effect to the surface. Can’t remember what the winning entry was.

  7. On a similar theme, Philips Semiconductors (previously Mullard, latterly NXP) in Southampton had a sculpture competition in 2000 for their new then building. Entries were from students at the Southampton Institute (now Southampton Solent Uni).

  8. It wasn’t the ‘Theme of Electronics’ by Dame Barbara Hepworth, was it? As depicted on the front of the ‘Home Radio (Components)’ catalogue>

  9. Oh – and it’s Salfords (near Redhill and Horley in Surrey, not Salford (near Manchester).

  10. Sadly the site is now a “brown field” containing piles of concrete crush. The only surviving building is G block which was built in the late ’80s but has been unused several years.
    I vaguely remember a sculpture (in a fountain I think) near the main entrance from when I worked there in the ’70s.

  11. Guineas mark you. Proper money in those days.

  12. 500 guineas in 1961 was a lot of money – nearly £10,000 in today’s terms. I wonder what it looked like, and if it still exists.

  13. Not to my knowledge

  14. Has there been such a sculpture contest since then?

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