In Pictures: The Festival Of Britain

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festival of britain
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.

Exploring the Festival of Britain’s Impact on Post-WWII Unity

Harriet Atkinson’s latest book, “The Festival of Britain: A Land and Its People,” delves into the profound impact of the 1951 festival in uniting a nation scarred by World War II.

Atkinson’s work stands out for its comprehensive examination, drawing on previously unseen sketches, plans, photographs, and interviews.

Unlike other accounts, Atkinson’s book goes beyond the festival’s celebrated centerpiece at London’s South Bank.

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Additionally,  it reveals how the Festival transformed the entire country into an exhibition ground, where hundreds of the nation’s top architects, artists, and designers contributed their talents.

Through meticulous research and vivid storytelling, Atkinson sheds light on the festival’s role in shaping post-war Britain’s collective identity and spirit of renewal.

A ‘constellation of events’ across the nation. Map drawn by Eric Fraser showing nationwide Festival events, including exhibitions and arts festivals.
A ‘constellation of events’ across the nation. Map drawn by Eric Fraser showing nationwide Festival events, including exhibitions and arts festivals.
The Way to Go Round the Dome’ (from the South Bank Exhibition Guide). Exhibition design by the Design Research Unit inside Ralph Tubbs’ Dome of Discovery
Model of site from ‘South Bank Exhibition Guide’.
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.
Plan of Lansbury ‘Live Architecture’ Exhibition, Poplar
LIVE ARCHITECTURE EXHIBITION, LANSBURY ESTATE, POPLAR. (Above) Model of the shopping center and Market Place, with the clock tower in the foreground, seen from Chrisp Street; (below) Model showing double arcade of shops and paved Market Place. Architect Frederick Gibberd.
Dome of Discovery is to the left, and Transport is to the right. (© Design Archives, Brighton)
A new model factory built at Castlereagh for the Farm and Factory Exhibition, designed by R. Ferguson and S. Mcllveen. (© Design Archives, Brighton)

 

A magnified version of Michael Ayrton’s painting, ‘The Four Elements,’ fitted into the bow of a ship, Shipbuilding section. Enlarged 600 times, Festival literature claimed it was the ‘world’s largest photograph.’ (© Design Archives, Brighton)

More information about The Festival of Britain: A Land and Its People can be found on our website.

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