I remember the Skylon, who doesn’t, and vaguely wondering what it was for, since it looked like it should launch into the air, but obviously wasn’t going to, so it was a bit of a bore (I was eight at the time…) I remember enjoying the Dome of Discovery, but I can’t for the life of me remember what was in it. Likewise the various Pavilions, which probably trumpeted British achievements, but I don’t know what they might have been. There was an old industrial building called The Shot Tower, which I recall thinking was nice: I think it might have made lead-pellets for shot-guns, but who knows. I think I just liked it because it was old, and everything else was new. And even at that age I liked things better when they were old. I’ve never come to terms with Modernism. Then of course we got on the boat to Battersea Funfair, which was fun. No better than any other Funfair, just bigger. It was a nice day out, and that’s about it. Oh, and I got a nice Festival of Britain badge to pin in the lapel of the blazer I wore to school.
Peter Snow delves into a Daily Mail from May 1951 to recreate the excitement of the start of the Festival of Britain…from London’s South Bank to Merseyside and North Wales.
A grand event which aimed to lift post-war Britain out of its age of austerity. A stretch of London riverbank was completely rebuilt with futuristic buildings and sculptures.