C20 Journal 5 - Festival of Britain

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Edited by Elain Harwood & Alan Powers

Shortly after the end of World War II, much of London was still in ruins and redevelopment was badly needed. Inspired by the 1851 Great Exhibition, the Festival of Britain of 1951 was an attempt to give Britons a feeling of recovery and progress and to promote better-quality design in the rebuilding of British towns and cities in the aftermath of the war. Devised by Labour deputy leader Herbert Morrison as “as tonic for the nation”, the Festival was described by a newsreel of the time as giving an “inexplicable lift to the heart”, recreating the feel of a trip to the seaside.

The Festival left behind more memories than solid structures. This collection of essays brings together the recollections of those who took part in the exhibition, with studies of personalities such as Sir Gerald Barry, the main London sites at South Bank, Battersea and Lansbury, and some of the many activities outside London. At its centre is a recreated tour of the South Bank.

First published in 2001 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Festival, this second edition coinsides with its 60th anniversary, celebrated at London’s Southbank Centre this summer. It reproduces more pictures in colour and black-and-white than ever published together before and remains informative, entertaining and challenging to received opinions.

265 x 196 mm, 176 pages
100 illustrations
ISBN: 978 0 952975 56 4