Monday, 29 March 2010

Stop all the clocks: Empire Exhibition 1938 postcards

We're almost at the last glimpse of the British Empire here in the summer of 1938. Apparently it rained almost throughout the exhibition's life and the 300-foot Observation Tower was frequently rendered useless due to being encased by cloud. Oh, allegory.  With huge slabs of Europe infected with fascism the exhibition seems to me to have been a final flash of optimism at a time when all eyes were on the Beast of Berlin. We didn't exhibit again until the 1951 Festival Of Britain by which time Britain wasn't so willing or able to brag about empires and dominions.
I find these images rather dreamy. As a child in the 1960s I was very taken with the notion of 'garden cities' and 'new towns', the moving , if you will, of pavillions from far to near. Although we may have thought we were unleashing a blanket Billy Butlin-ism ultimately we built only readymade ruins. There's nowhere you can fittingly hang a Kiss-Me-Quick hat. Born, not consulted, etc.

1 comment:

  1. I've got some wonderful postcards of Glasgow's Empire Exhibition to send you. It really looks like another place.