Talk:Festival of Britain

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Martin and Constructivism[edit]

The South Bank centre did not really get going until 1968. Anyone know what the site was left like after the festival buildings were torn down.

I have been doing quite a bit on the British Constructivists on wiki and many of them contributed to the Festival - perhaps even dominated. Leslie Martin who did the Festival Hall was close to Hepworth and Nicholson before the war and brought along Pasmore, the Martins who all contributed murals, mosaics, sculptures. If anyone has the time it would be interesting to see a detail of what works were in the main shows.Piersmasterson 15:38, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

There is a fair amount about the site after the exhibition in The Times newspaper, which can be accessed through the Times Digital Archive. When I have a minute, I'll have a look at it. Peter Maggs 18:44, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
I have now had a brief look for this material. There a wealth of information just in The Times, but the only efficient way to find it, is to use the Digital Archive, which allows you to do date and word searches. Peter Maggs 12:53, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
It's not quite true to say that the South Bank centre did not really get going until 1968. The Festival had transformed the site from an industrial area into a popular place of recreation. The National Film Theatre and the Festival Hall remained after the Festival and were the core of the South Bank arts complex throughout the 'fifties and 'sixties. At the end of the 'sixties the brutalist Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room transformed the South Bank into what you see today.
I remember in the early 'eighties meeting working class residents of Waterloo who still resented clearance of the site for the Festival of Britain, which they saw as an imposition on their neighbourhood. Marshall46 (talk) 08:18, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Guidebook[edit]

I found a copy of the guidebook for sale, and it occurred to me that it is probably Crown Copyright and therefore may have expired. If this is confirmed I will probably buy a copy as there are lots of illustrations that would be nice to use. Justinc 16:02, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

I have put up the cover of the Guide to the South Bank Exhibition as it shows well the Festival emblem. (Abram Games called it an "emblem" rather than a "logo".) Unfortunately my copy is in poor condition; if anyone has a better image it would be welcome. I have also created a link to the "Designing Britain" website, which shows good photos of the Festival. Marshall46 13:58, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Disambiguation of Exhibition[edit]

I've removed the link to the disambiguation page, but there are two viable choices from there. One is the World's fair which seems wrong, the other is the Art exhibition which does not seem to encompass it all. I've opted for the latter, but would welcome a better point of view or choice of page. Please don't link back to disambiguation - I know this has nothing to do with scholarships to Oxford University! ;) LeeG 14:22, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Festival Clock -- Battersea Park[edit]

I noticed that the Guinness Festival Clock was reported as being in the South Bank. In fact it was in the Pleasure Gardens at Battersea Park. I've corrected this, and added a bit about the Gardens (and the Exhibition of Science, with a link to my site). I found a nice photo of the clock in the family archives, so I hope to add this when I manage to scan it. (Something horrific happened while I was editing the page... all the text above the section I was editing vanished! (I believe wikipedia was having server problems.) I cut and pasted the text from the previous version, so I think things are back correctly. If anyone sees any problem, please correct it!) Pete G. 00:25, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Problems now fixed --mervyn 07:47, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Mervyn... (Have no idea what happened -- I was supposedly editing just that paragraph, but when I saved it *only* that bit was left! Guess it lost the following stuff too.) I re-edited again to take out the bit from the old para that was repeated in my added one. Pete G. 21:13, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Closure[edit]

"Terence Conran has speculated that the haste with which the main site was cleared was an act of political revenge by the incoming Conservative Party government."

This opinion is also expressed in "A Tonic to the Nation". However, the South Bank Exhibition was due to close on September 30 and the election didn't take place until October. Churchill's contempt for the Festival of Britain is well known, and also, I believe, is the fact that the instruction to clear the site was the first act of his government. But it was going to be cleared anyway. Marshall46 14:08, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

1951 office building (latest edit)[edit]

The new sentence unfortunately doesn't make it clear whether the architects or the building were not formally part of the Festival. I can't fix it because I don't know the answer... --Wspencer11 (talk to me...) 14:40, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Street markets[edit]

The article says in the opening section, "Throughout the festival numerous Londoners participated in street markets, which sold fruits, poultry, vegetables, and antiques, at the Petticoat Lane (Middlesex Street) Market on the eastern edge of the London; Berwick Market, in Soho; and at Portobello Market Kensington Gardens." This has nothing to do with the Festival of Britain as far as I can see. Unless someone can explain the connection I will remove it. Marshall46 (talk) 09:40, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

As no-one has explained or defended the passage, I will remove it. Marshall46 (talk) 21:17, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Legacy[edit]

The section entitled Legacy is incorrect, unless my interpertation of the word "profit" is different from the writer's. The Festival of Britain cost around £10.5M, with revenues of only £2.5M (Government White Paper Cmd.8872 published 29th July 1953) so it certainly was not profitable in financial terms, although I don't think it was ever planned to be. Nevertheless, my vague memories of it were that it was exciting and futuristic and very well worthwhile as a public spectacle. Unless anyone objects, I will edit this section when I have done some more research. Peter Maggs 22:42, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

I removed this POV: "Politically, the Festival of Britain has become a symbol for the incomplete promise of the immediate post-war period. The support of Peter Mandelson for the Millennium Dome project was perhaps an attempt by New Labour to engage with a similar symbolism, the promise of the new Millennium, as Mandelson is the grandson of Herbert Morrison." I am not sure that the Festival has become a symbol for the "incomplete promise" ( whatever that means) of the immediate post-war period; it is generally seen as an attempt to cheer up the British people after a long war (in which it succeeded) and to embark with optimism on a programme of reconstruction (which did take place). If a source can be found for Mandelson's wanting a link with the Festival, that can be put back. Marshall46 (talk) 10:02, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
I haved tagged this as dubious: "Alhough the Festival was extremely popular and made a profit, it was conceived and executed in haste and with little thought for subsequent use." I would like to see a source for the statement that it made a profit. Since it was thought up immediately after the war, it can hardly be said to have been conceived in haste. It was put together under great pressure, but that is not the same as being executed in haste. I am not sure what is meant by "little thought for subsequent use": it was a temporary event and was taken down when done with; despite that, the Festival Hall remains almost unchanged to this day, Lansbury, the model housing estate, remains, and even the Battersea Funfair staggered on into the 1970s. If there are no objections I will change this accordingly. Marshall46 (talk) 12:52, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
No objections, so I've deleted the doubtful part of the sentence. Marshall46 (talk) 22:27, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
It did not make a profit. I have now cited a source giving the net cost as £8 million. Marshall46 (talk) 13:39, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

BBC Radio 4 "Today" Programme[edit]

Why is the BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme 'celebrating' the 60th anniversary tomorrow when the 1951 Festival of Britain did not start until 3rd of May? [The South Bank exhibition opened on 4th of May 1951.] Shurely shome mishtake!

213.120.97.230 (talk) 12:38, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

To Do List[edit]

Things still needed in this article:

  • 1. Details of official events outside London.
  • 2. Film in the Festival. The article by Sarah Easen[1] is a good starting point)
  • 3. Science in the Festival. Robert Anderson's talk[2] is a good starting point.
  • 4. Art. Details of the artists who worked in the South Bank Exhibition and their works. Details of "Black Eyes and Lemonade" and the contemporary enthusiasm for vernacular art that ran alongside the enthusiasm for modernism. The Festival Pattern Group.[3]
  • 5. More about the Lansbury open air architecture display in Poplar.
  • 6. A balanced account of the unofficial Festival of Britain - the voluntary engagement of businesses and local authorities, official and unofficial souvenirs.
  • 7. Responses to the Festival. There has been a critical literature since, especially since the 25th anniversary, e.g. "A Tonic to the Nation" (1976) and Becky Conekin's "The Autobiography of a Nation" (2003).
  • 8. A clearer account of the demolition and disposal of the South Bank Exhibition and the contemporary debate around it. Recent moves to recover and reconstruct the Skylon.
  • 9. Removal of random and trivial details, better citations and general clean up.

Please help if you can. Marshall46 (talk) 17:27, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

With great respect, you seem to have a rather ambivalent attitude here. You ask for help with "details of official events outside London" then when I provide some you ask in the edit summary "Is there room for every random fact about every local festival?". The revival of the York Mystery Plays is one of the most important continuing legacies of the Festival of Britain. That isn't a "random fact". Perhaps you'd like to visit York next August to see what I mean. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 15:01, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
If that is the case, please add it to the "Legacy" section, with a source. Marshall46 (talk) 20:33, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
Promoted to B-class. It will still need the above additions before it can go higher. Pelarmian (talk) 11:33, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Skylon[edit]

Anyone know how tall the Skylon was? I've been unable to find out by googling. Mintguy

Link is for the wrong Skylon. Mintguy (T)
I deleted this passage without citations despite a citation request since November 2011:
"The name and form of the Skylon may refer to the Trylon feature of the 1939 World's Fair.It was suggested by Mrs A G S Fidler, wife of the chief architect of the Crawley Development Corporation, who said she derived it from "skyhook" and "nylon"."
Mrs Fidler is now included, with a citation, in the main article on the Skylon. Pelarmian (talk) 10:14, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

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