TORCH is an innovative high-precision time-of-flight system to provide particle identification in the difficult intermediate momentum region up to 10 GeV/c, It is also suitable for large-area applications. The detector provides a time-of-flight measurement from the imaging of Cherenkov photons emitted in a 1 cm thick quartz radiator. The photons propagate by total internal reflection to the edge of the quartz plate and are then focused onto an array of photon detectors at the periphery. A time-of-flight resolution of about 10-15 ps per incident charged particle needs to be achieved to allow a three sigma kaon-pion separation up to 10 GeVic momentum for the TORCH located 9.5 m from the interaction point. Given similar to 30 detected photons per incident charged particle, this requires measuring the time-of-arrival of individual photons to about 70 ps. This paper will describe the design of a TORCH prototype involving a number of ground-breaking and challenging techniques. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved