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The Special Collection: Festival of Britain

Festival of Britain

In the 1970s we acquired a box of Festival items that had originated in the library of the Daily Mirror. These included press releases, letters and some official guides. Building on this, the library began to acquire a wider range of Festival literature and commemorative ephemera - such as postcards, teapots, toys, glassware and medals. The collection now comprises about 2000 items covering not only the main South Bank exhibition but also numerous regional events as well.

In 1947 King George VI's Government decided that the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851 should be marked by national displays in the Arts, Architecture, Science, Technology and Industrial Design.

The 1951 Festival of Britain was a showcase of British contributions to art, design and industry and a chance to celebrate and raise the nation's spirits after the austerity of the war years.


How can this collection help you?


           credit: Leo Reynolds


There are many great examples of 1950s product and poster design and we also have several titles by Abram Games (above), who was the designer of the celebrated festival logo.

Artists and architects can also benefit from the Collection, as the different literature covers special festival art exhibitions and structures such as 'The Skylon'.

The Festival on YouTube

What do we have?

Our collection features a wide range of items made for the Festival including jewellry, toys and homeware; there is also literature, posters and ephemera. Please contact us if you'd like to know more.

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Phone: +44 (0)114 225 2222

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