Event    From /5/1951  To /9/1951

Festival of Britain

'A tonic for the Nation', The Festival was intended to cheer us all up after WW2, and incidentally to celebrate the centenary of the 1851 Great Exhibition. The symbol for the Festival was designed by Abram Games.

All the Festival buildings on the south bank except the Royal Festival Hall have since been demolished and replaced by other buildings forming the much-loved (British irony) arts complex known as The South Bank. The Festival of Britain was a nationwide event with two other sites in London: the Pleasure Gardens in Battersea and the Live Architecture Exhibition in Poplar, originally 'Neighbourhood 9' but then renamed the 'Lansbury Estate', after George Lansbury. Diamond GeezerCaroline's Miscellany and A London Inheritance have all done good posts about this Estate. The City of London laid out a garden beside St Paul's, Festival Gardens.

The Festival Pleasure Gardens were installed in the northern part of Battersea Park. These included a water-garden and a tree-walk. There was also a fun fair on the section between Central Avenue and what is now the children's zoo. The BBC has photos of many of the items.

2019: Ian Visits spotted a Festival of Britain bench in an Essex village.

2019: In the 1957 film 'The Key Man' / 'Life at Stake' (not be be confused with the 1955 film with the same two titles), at about 57 mins, two characters meet in the Thameside Restaurant under Waterloo Bridge, left over from the Festival. This nice piece of modernist architecture remained until 1962.

2023: An email from 'Londonist: Time Machine' reminded us that the recreation of Sherlock Holmes’s study, now to be found upstairs at The Sherlock Holmes pub near Charing Cross, was created for the Festival of Britain. The catalogue of the "Exhibition on Sherlock Holmes" states that it was held at "Abbey House, Baker Street, London NW1, May - September 1951". Often described as Holmes's study, the recreated room is described in the catalogue as his living room.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Festival of Britain

Commemorated ati

Dome of Discovery

{The plaque is laid flat on the ground.} This commemorative plaque was set i...

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Festival of Britain - Arts

The relief shows the Royal Festival Hall, surrounded by a violin, saxophone, ...

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Festival of Britain - Churchill Gardens

See a similar plaque in N7 for information about them.

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Festival of Britain - London Pride

London Pride. Frank Dobson CBE, RA. 1886 - 1963. Commissioned for The Festi...

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Festival of Britain - N16

Festival of Britain, 1951, Award for Merit.

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Show all 19

Other Subjects

John Reardon
1 memorial
Francis Bourgeois

Francis Bourgeois

Artist. Born Peter Francis Lewis Bourgeois in London. He became an art dealer and collector in association with Margaret and Noel Desenfans, and with them founded the Dulwich Picture Gallery. In 17...

Person, Art

1 memorial
Farhad Miah

Farhad Miah

Student. Participant in the creation of the Will Crooks mural.

Person, Art

1 memorial
Allan Ramsay

Allan Ramsay

Painter Born Edinburgh. Died in Dover.

Person, Art, Scotland

1 memorial
T. A. Greeves

T. A. Greeves

Architect and artist. Born Thomas Affleck Greeves. Studied at the Cambridge School of Architecture, but never actually designed any functional buildings. Instead he produced a series of fantastical...

Person, Architecture, Art

1 memorial