Terence Conran (1931 – 2020)

“We all have a little bit of Conran in our lives, whether we think about design or not”

~ Suzanne Moore

Designer and entrepreneur Terence Conran died on 12th September, at the age of 88, after a long and productive life.  By all accounts, he was quite a character, and sometimes challenging to those who worked with him, and in personal relationships.

Birth Chart

With 6 (over half his planets) in the Cardinal signs, he was quite definitely a leader. He certainly led the way in transforming our homes after the war, from traditional furnishing to a more modern look.  In his career, he was always a step ahead, finding new avenues for his talents, such as establishing restaurants.  His Sun was in Libra conjunct his ruler Venus, the sign you would expect to find in an interior designer.  So he had a highly developed sense of harmony and artistry in that sense, but with the Sun square Moon and three difficult aspects to his Venus, all was not harmony in his private life.  He had a contentious T-square between the Sun opposing Uranus and squaring Saturn (personal earthquakes), which if you count a wide orb with Pluto is almost a Grand Cross.  The Sun was conjunct the South Node in Libra in his chart, so he probably worked on similar themes as an artist in previous lives.  His Moon was in Cancer, thus his sphere of working interest was in Homes.  The Moon was sextile Neptune – a sensitivity and good taste in matters of Home, and the Moon was square the Nodal Axis, implying that the art of home making was part of his karmic mission.  Venus exactly sextile Jupiter brought him success through artistic expression, but Venus was also square exactly with Saturn (relationship difficulties), Venus opposite exactly Uranus (break-ups) and square Pluto (explosive relationships).  Mars square Jupiter was a telling aspect: an over the top enthusiasm allied with energy, which Stephen Bayley (writing his obituary in the Guardian) labelled “the zealous energy of a messiah”.  Of course, in his chart, you find the Entrepreneur Archetype – Jupiter closely trine Uranus.  I think his ability to bring transformation to post-war homes comes from his square between Uranus and Pluto; he had to be quite pushy to achieve that.

Life and Career

Terence Conran was born in Kingston upon Thames in 1931, and attended the Central School of Art and Design when he left school, studying textiles.  He began a business in design in 1956, while designing a shop for Mary Quant.  His schoolfriend Alexander Plunket Greene described him as “surly…old beyond his years”, and married Mary Quant.  But it was not until 1964 that he opened his  famous homeware and furniture shop Habitat, on the Fulham Road in Chelsea.  According to Stephen Bayley, his style was “polite, eclectic modern design, much influenced by urban Scandinavia and rural France”.  In 1990 he branched out as a restaurateur, at his 2nd Saturn Return in Capricorn.

Shirley Conran

Shirley Conran was Terence’s second wife (of four), and achieved fame with her best-selling book “Superwoman” which I dutifully read in 1975!  It was packed with information about short-cuts to housework and the domestic arts.

Jasper Conran

Jasper Conran was one of two sons from his marriage to Shirley Conran, and followed him into a career of design, though more orientated towards fashion.  Jasper has designed clothes for the rich and famous, including for Lady Diana.  He has the design sign Libra rising.

Terence leaves behind in total 5 children, 13 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.

On a personal note, we have a monument to Terence Conran in our own home.  In 1975, in setting up our first home, we bought a pine dining table from Habitat.  I know, they’re not fashionable now!  It wasn’t elegant; it was chunky and solid, but one of the best and most enduring purchases of our married life!  It is still going strong, 45 years later, and we love it.

“Terence’s achievement was to put middle Britain in touch with the pleasure principle”

~ Stephen Bayley

“This was his rebellion against the drabness of the postwar years, the grey houses, the Spam fritters, the colourless mackintoshes”

~ Suzanne Moore


We have three aspects this week, all difficult aspects to Mercury.  Although they are to be taken seriously, they are in the scheme of things medium in terms of seriousness in comparison to other aspects, but Geminis and Virgos (the Mercury-ruled) will need to be on their toes.

The first of these occurs tomorrow (Monday 21st) in the early hours of the morning.  Mercury square Pluto can be mentally fractious, so you may start out grumpy and find it is a chain reaction, unless you consciously intend to make every word count in a constructive way.  You may encounter awkward communications or travel (if you are allowed to travel).  You may need extra ‘me time’ in order to separate yourself from worried pronouncements about the progress of the social measures being instituted on behalf of the virus we haven’t yet managed to shake off.  If you do engage in chatter, choose a worthwhile subject.

Tuesday (22nd) brings us the Autumn Equinox, the Sun’s entry into Libra.  There may be a lift in mood, accompanying a greater appreciation of the beauty of nature, and awareness of the quality of design, whether in or out of the home.  Libra may draw you to artistic or musical pursuits, new relationships, or an interest in the law and justice.

The second square of the week arrives on Wednesday (23rd) in the shape of Mercury square Saturn.  Again, this forces us to think seriously about matters, e.g. David Attenborough and his recent programme “Extinction”.  That doesn’t sound like much fun, but the excitement of the challenge of working out what can be done could be motivating.  It is not as challenging as Monday’s square, and it is more practical.  So you may perceive some progress coming into the middle of the week, when you look back and compare the agenda set at the start.  More haste less speed may be a useful mantra to follow.

“More haste less speed” can also apply on Thursday (24th), with Mercury opposite Mars, but in a completely different way.  Whereas you need to be patient on Wednesday, e.g. your broadband may be going slow, on Thursday you may make minor slip ups because you will feel like going quickly and pushing through agendas fast.  Heated debates, irritability and incident-proneness could also be a feature of Mercury opposite Mars.  Again, the irritability of Thursday’s aspect contrasts with the irritability of Monday’s.  Monday’s square between Mercury and Pluto can contain a deep moodiness, whereas the irritability of Thursday’s Mercury aspect is more surface, resulting from an impatience to get things done, and not wanting to let anything stand in your way.  You may observe this in others, and in the general hustle and bustle of society, where two or more (or six) are gathered together.

The week in bullet points:

  • Monday – deep thought
  • Tuesday – the colours of Autumn
  • Wednesday – a necessary slowing down
  • Thursday – a speeding up, but take care