THE 1951 Festival of Britain aimed to break all that post-war austerity with a display if the best of British art, design and industry. It would cost a packet but what the heck. Britain would show the subjects and the world that when it came to science, technology, graft and a rosey-fingered dawn, Great Briain was tops… Of the big venues, only the Royal Festival Hall remains. The Dome of Discovery went; its dismantling necessary for the largest sheet of glass in the world to be taken away – the Dome had been built around it. The Indian railway engine – the wrong gauge for British tracks – was removed by sea. And the Skylon – the 300ft sky-high pylon that pointed to the stars where dreams are made – was torn down. The metal was used for weapons.
Here is the gallery of the maps to get you around the festival, the sights, the buildings and that Skylon:
Spotter: The Festival of Britain: A Land and Its People – Harriet Atkinson (I.B. Tauris)