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British Design & British Companies

In Or Out?

As the Brexit negotiations reach a climax, it’s a good idea to reflect on the way that “internationalism” has changed our everyday lives. Long gone are the days when virtually everything in our homes was made in Britain.  Continue reading →

Festival of Britain

Sixty-six years ago, you may well have been planning your visit to the Festival of Britain. If you fancied making the journey to London, you would have joined the 8.5 million visitors to the South Bank of the River Thames who encountered thirty pavilions showcasing various aspects of Britain’s life that had been constructed around the new Festival Hall.

The Festival of Britain was a celebration of Britain’s dominant position in the arts, science, technology and industry and provided visitors with the opportunity to be educated, bask in Britain’s culture and history and see the very best in modern industrial and decorative design. The government had allocated £14 million as a budget and the Deputy Prime Minister, Herbert Morrison, had appointed Gerald Barry to spearhead the project. He turned to Hugh Casson Continue reading →

The Kitchen Revolution

toasterIt’s hardly surprising that we revere the mid century modern period, the years just after the Second World War. This was a time for celebration as peace was restored and a time for designers and artists to exercise the creative energy that had been repressed during years of austerity. This was also a time for developing new materials like plastics and nylon and old ones that had been refined and improved and were now in more plentiful supply as the armaments industry no longer took priority. Continue reading →

Rubbish, VW & All That Gas

Antelope Chair by Ernest Race for The Festival of Britain. An era when anything seemed possible.

Antelope Chair by Ernest Race for The Festival of Britain. A time when anything seemed possible.

On 3rd May 1951, The Festival of Britain opened. Events were held all over Britain but the central attraction was undoubtedly the South Bank in London.

Here, a vast area of old warehouses and housing had been demolished to stage a showcase of British achievements in industry, science and art. It was intended to be a tonic for the nation (as Herbert Morrison put it), a cultural counterpart to the social benefits of the Welfare State and an antidote to the years of austerity Continue reading →