The year is 1951, King George opens the Festival of Britain
The first End of Austerity in Britain
Prosperity and hope picked up Summer of 1951, London celebrated the Festival of Britain as Royalty officially opened the festival at the Southbank. Events also ran nationally.
To boost the morale of people during post-war austerity what Britain had achieved since the war, and to celebrate the centennial of the Great Exhibition in 1851.
In the hope to regain some faith in the Government, after yrs of toil and hardship Labour had lost popularity. England was being rebuilt after the war, promoting recovery and confidence.
“A tonic to the nation” was a well-known quote by the Festival director Gerald Barry.
Thought as the “Beacon for change”, other countries and the commonwealth strictly not part of this festival. This put a spotlight for the first time probably since the Victorian times for people to appreciate British design, Science and technology, sports, the arts and architecture.
Ireland, Scotland and Wales took part and many of the trade and arts councils.
They transformed Battersea Park into the Festival Pleasure Gardens. A plaque still stands there today along with some vintage yet contemporary looking structures.
Southbank became the central hub to the festival to at least 8.5 Million visitors from far and wide
On the Southbank stood the Dome of Discovery structure a headliner, marked as the largest aluminium building in the world. Made with British Aluminium, a way to showcase its versatility, strength but light properties.
The 300 foot, approx. 90 meters in height, Skylon a futuristic-looking structure which gave London this 50s nostalgic time stamp.
Designed by Hidalgo Moya, Philip Powell and Felix Samuely. A Steel lattice framework and louvres lit from within at night and suspended what looked like in mid-air with cables and beams. The joke at the time saw the comparison between the fact the structure had no visible support and therefore just like the British economy.
Skylon’s name came from a woman, wife of a chief architect of Crawley the Conjuring up Nylon the new material being used more and more, sky and pylon.
When the structure was dismantled it was sold off for scrap, and they turned some material into souvenirs.
One of the biggest post-WW2 housing Estates in London
Festival of Britain inspired the Lansbury Estate in Popular as a regeneration project. It is one of the largest historic estates in London built on a WW2 bomb site. Found around Langdon Park DLR and All Saints DLR, Bromley–by Bow tube and Bow RD tube, Lime-house area.
There were awards and plaques for contributions to civic or landscape design.
There is a plaque sky blue with white outside White City station that states Festival of Britain Award for Merit 1951. A. D McGill and Kenneth J. H Seymour designed a station for Thomas Bilbow for Transport for London.
19 awards some out of London.
Newbury Park Bus Station
Heath Park Estate Dagenham
Chaucer House, Coleridge House, Shelley & Pepys House Pimlico
There is a Poster for that
No campaign would be complete without an advertising campaign, in the shape of posters designed by Abram Games. Geometric upbeat colours a contemporary logo including Britannia themed heraldry but modernised.
Back to the V&A to see some Festival of Britain Treasures
The Victoria and Albert Museum as its legacy dictates holds some artefacts from the Festival of Britain.