It has been hard not to notice that this year is the anniversary of the 1951 Festival of Britain. This is not least due to the fact that last year’s controversial Wayne Hemingway Vintage at Goodwood is relocating to the Southbank this summer. Sadly the acronym VAS is not as entertaining as VAG. Some quality events have already been and gone, not least Ray Davies’ curatorship of this year’s Meltdown Festival. For those in London the Vintage at the Southbank thing does not represent fantastic value as most of the things on offer are readily available and the ticket cost is very steep. This is a shame in a way as the Festival of Britain could as easily have been called the Festival of London such is the affection it is held in by those who attended. My own family come from the Southwark/North Lambeth area and were therefore a short walk from the action and watched it being built. My mother recalls how much she enjoyed it, particularly the balconies that overhung the Thames and the Skylon. My own experience was of the much lamented Battersea funfair, built as part of the festival which I visited regularly as a child, once I won a day of free rides in an Evening Standard art competition, a prize somewhat lessened as I had to take my brother instead of my best friend Irene.
|The Festival site.|
The exhibition contains some remarkable exhibits, my favourite is a quilt which details the remarkable elements of our history. There is a room set from the era which will have (some) of us cooing over furniture ‘just like our grans’ and part of it is open access so you can have your photograph taken relaxing or answering your period telephone, you can see Torquil doing just this below, doesn't he look comfortable? Maybe I should have a caption competition! What the exhibition did leave me with, as a Lambeth girl, is a resentment that it was all demolished and taken away, I suspect that as things are now we would not have the imagination and vision to hold something similar.
|I'd like to order a pizza...|
If you are visiting the area don't forget to pop into Radio Days vintage store.
Recommended eats? The Thames Indian restaurant under the bridge is decent, and there is a branch of Canteen behind the Festival Hall. xxx