With a big thank you to the Design Archives in Brighton, here’s a collection of photographs, posters and drawings from The Festival of Britain to celebrate the publication of Harriet Atkinson’s new book.
Harriet Atkinson’s new book The Festival of Britain: A Land and Its People explores how the Festival of Britain in 1951 united a war-ravaged nation after WWII. Drawing on previously unseen sketches and plans, photographs and interviews, The Festival of Britain is unique in that it travels beyond the Festival’s spectacular centrepiece at London’s South Bank and shows how the Festival made the whole country an exhibition ground, to which hundreds of the country’s greatest architects, artists and designers contributed.
Click a thumbnail to begin the slideshow.
A ‘constellation of events’ across the nation. Map drawn by Eric Fraser showing nationwide Festival events, including exhibitions and arts festivals.
Model of site from ‘South Bank Exhibition Guide’.
‘A PROJECT FOR THE UNIVERSAL INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF 1951′, IMAGINED BY MISHA BLACK, DRAWN BY HILTON WRIGHT. Black explained, ‘the great spiral ramp forms a framework on which the buildings rise in terraces to the the sky platform fifteen hundred feet above London. Here the exhibition is shown sited on the South Bank of the Thames, but it could be positioned equally well in Hyde Park or Regent’s Park.’
‘The Way to Go Round the Dome’ (from the South Bank Exhibition Guide). Exhibition design by Design Research Unit inside Ralph Tubbs’ Dome of Discovery
Plan of Lansbury ‘Live Architecture’ Exhibition, Poplar
Plan of Exhibition of Industrial Power, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
Plan of Sea Travelling Exhibition aboard HMS Campania
Plan of Land Travelling Exhibition touring to Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Nottingham
Plan of Exhibition of Science, South Kensington
‘The Way to Go Round the Natural Scene’ (from the ‘South Bank Exhibition Guide’). Exhibition design by F.H.K.Henrion inside Brian O’Rourke’s building.
LIVE ARCHITECTURE EXHIBITION, LANSBURY ESTATE, POPLAR. (Above) Model of shopping centre and Market Place, with clock tower in foreground, seen from Chrisp Street; (below) Model showing double arcade of shops and paved Market Place. Architect Frederick Gibberd.