To mark the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851 it was decided, in 1947, that a Festival should be held to celebrate both British achievements and the British way of life. As Britain was still suffering the after-effects of the Second World War it was also hoped that the Festival would prove to be a "tonic to the nation".
A derelict bomb-damaged area on the South Bank was chosen for the main site with the Pleasure Gardens being located at Battersea. The South Bank site was open every day from 4th May until the 30th September 1951. The only permanent building left on the South Bank after the Festival closed was the Royal Festival Hall.
In addition to the South Bank Exhibition there were exhibitions of Architecture, Science and Books in other parts of London, of Heavy Engineering in Glasgow and the Ulster Farm and Factory Exhibition in Belfast. It was designed to be a nation-wide festival with everyone being encouraged to take part in the celebrations. There was a land-based travelling exhibition and the ship "Campania" sailed into various British ports with a travelling exhibition as well.
Books, Brochures, Leaflets etc