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Sarah Easen

T HE FESTIVAL OF Britain, from 3 May to 30 September 1951, aimed to provide respite from the effects of World War II by celebrating the nation’s past achievements in the arts, industry and science, as well as looking hopefully to a future of progress and prosperity. It marked the halfway point of the century, a natural moment at which to take stock and examine advances in British society. The

in British cinema of the 1950s
A celebration

This book offers a startling re-evaluation of what has until now been seen as the most critically lacklustre period of the British film history. It includes fresh assessment of maverick directors; Pat Jackson, Robert Hamer and Joseph Losey, and even of a maverick critic Raymond Durgnat. The book features personal insights from those inidividually implicated in 1950s cinema; Corin Redgrave on Michael Redgrave, Isabel Quigly on film reviewing, and Bryony Dixon of the BFI on archiving and preservation. A classic image from 1950s British cinema would be Jack Hawkins in The Cruel Sea, the epitome of quiet English integrity. Raymond Durgnat's A Mirror for England: British Movies from Austerity to Affluence, which deals extensively with British films of the 1950s, was written in the mid-1960s and was published in 1970. In a 1947 article called 'Angles of Approach' Lindsay Anderson delivered a fierce attack on contemporary British film culture, outlining a model for a devoted politics of creation, well in line with what we would later understand as auteurism and art cinema aesthetics . The war films of the 1950s together constitute the assented-to record of the emotions and moral judgments called upon to set in order those disorderly events. The book also talks about the Festival of Britain, White Corridors, and four Hamer's post-Ealing films: The Spider and the Fly, The Long Memory, Father Brown and The Scapegoat. A number of factors have contributed to the relative neglect of the 1950s as a decade in British cinema history.

James Boaden

public consciousness at this time. As early as 1943 the Royal Society of Arts had proposed to the government a festival to celebrate the centenary of the Great Exhibition. For a while it was expected that this would take the form of an international exhibition, a ‘Worlds’ Fair’. A number of obstacles led to the development of a very different festival, one that would support the process of post-war reconstruction and a re-evaluation of national identity.9 The Festival of Britain, held on the bomb-damaged South Bank of the Thames near Waterloo, would be a celebration of

in After 1851
Reconstruction, public participation and the future of modernism, 1941–51
Jessica Kelly

that shaped ordinary people's relationship with architecture and style. The ideas articulated in The Castles on the Ground were threaded through Richards's postwar work, from his BBC radio talks, his writing at the AR and The Times newspaper, his work at CIAM and at the Festival of Britain. This chapter establishes the central thesis of Richards's book and how those ideas shaped his contribution to architectural culture after the war. His work during this period was characterised by an optimism that the postwar context of publicly funded

in No more giants
The Festival of Britain and the formation of the Institute of Public Relations
Scott Anthony

6 Rebuilding the nation: The Festival of Britain and the formation of the Institute of Public Relations ‘There are two ways of starting a new enterprise’, Tallents argued. ‘You can either work out careful plans on paper then order them to be carried out; or you can pick the best men that you can find for your purpose and put them to grips with a still disorderly material.’1 As Tallents’s stilted work at the Ministry of Town and Country Planning was to attest, the postwar world did not well reward those who had their feet placed in the latter camp. The vogue for

in Public relations and the making of modern Britain
Abstract only
‘The world of things’: an introduction to mid- century gothic
Lisa Mullen

The new human type cannot be properly understood without awareness of what he is continuously exposed to from the world of things about him, even in his most secret innervations. Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia 1 Monsters and dreams stalked London’s South Bank in 1951. The Festival of Britain site was a gothic space for a gothic time, visited by the sighing spectres of the Blitz, and the chain-rattling ghosts of modernism’s promise of a brand new

in Mid-century gothic
John M. MacKenzie

colonial week was held in Glasgow, a major imperial city, in 1951 and steam locomotives for the Empire and Commonwealth were exhibited in the city’s central square. Other colonial exhibitions toured Britain as late as 1954 and 1955. 15 However, it is certainly significant that the major post-war exhibition, the Festival of Britain on London’s South Bank in 1951, appeared to concentrate on metropolitan

in British culture and the end of empire
Exhibitions and festivals
Jeffrey Richards

One of the great cultural phenomena of the age of Empire was the exhibition. From the Great Exhibition in 1851 to the Festival of Britain in 1951, these extravaganzas were an integral part of the cultural life of the nation, attracting bigger and bigger audiences. The Great Exhibition of 1851 attracted over 6 million visitors; the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886, 5.5 million; the

in Imperialism and music
The threshold between abstraction and materiality
Lisa Mullen

– had been used to make surgical instruments, which were what she would now require. 105 ‘Exploding the Regatta Restaurant’: murals at the Festival of Britain When Macaulay’s novel was published, plans were already well advanced to channel the memories of blitzed citizens into the desires of modern consumers on a population-wide scale, via the South Bank Exhibition of the 1951 Festival of Britain. Six years after his work on Bombed Churches , it was Hugh Casson who took on responsibility for the

in Mid-century gothic
Family Portrait
Keith Beattie

Family Portrait was made for the Festival of Britain, a celebration of national achievements which ran from 3 May to 30 September 1951. The film was produced by Wessex Films, a company newly established by Ian Dalrymple after his departure from the Crown Film Unit. Having completed The Cumberland Story (1947), a workaday film which mixes dramatic re-enactment and contemporary footage in a history of the new machinery used in coal mines along the north-west coast, Jennings resigned from the Crown Film Unit and moved into the commercial sector of filmmaking when he

in Humphrey Jennings