Na­tional fes­ti­val cel­e­brated Great Bri­tain

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? The Kentish Express Memories Page W -

There are many pe­ri­ods dur­ing our lives when we have cause for cel­e­bra­tion. It may be in our own per­sonal cir­cle or that of a friend but it is al­ways a pos­i­tive when the coun­try has cause for cel­e­bra­tion such as a na­tional ex­hi­bi­tion or fes­ti­val.

Such was the case in the sum­mer of 1951, when the Fes­ti­val of Bri­tain was held through­out the coun­try.

It was or­gan­ised to give the na­tion a feel­ing of re­cov­ery in the af­ter­math of the Se­cond World War and to pro­mote Bri­tish con­tri­bu­tions to sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, in­dus­trial de­sign, ar­chi­tec­ture and the arts.

The fes­ti­val’s cen­tre­piece was in Lon­don on the South Bank of the River Thames. There were sev­eral events in other ar­eas such as Po­plar (ar­chi­tec­ture), Bat­tersea (The Fes­ti­val Plea­sure Gar­dens), South Kens­ing­ton (sci­ence) and Glas­gow (in­dus­trial power) to name but a few.

There were also many other cel­e­bra­tions held in places such as Cardiff, Bath and York.

Ash­ford also joined in and the town was dec­o­rated ac­cord­ingly, in­clud­ing an arch fea­ture say­ing ‘Wel­come’ be­tween the Ge­orge Ho­tel and Marks and Spencer in the High Street.

The fes­ti­val be­came as­so­ci­ated with the post-war Labour govern­ment of Cle­ment At­tlee as the South Bank Ex­hi­bi­tion site (with the ex­cep­tion of the Fes­ti­val Hall) was rapidly de­mol­ished by the in­com­ing Con­ser­va­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sir Win­ston Churchill, known as the Third Churchill Min­istry, formed af­ter the gen­eral elec­tion on Oc­to­ber 25 in 1951.

This week’s Re­mem­ber When looks back at the Fes­ti­val of Bri­tain in Ash­ford dur­ing that sum­mer in 1951.

Do you have any pho­to­graphs or slides that you would be will­ing to lend me, to en­able them to be scanned and fea­tured in the Ken­tish Ex­press? If so please write to me: Steve Sal­ter, Ken­tish Ex­press Re­mem­ber When, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR, email me at re­mem­ber­when_ kmash@hot­mail.co.uk or fol­low me on Twit­ter @ SteveKMAsh­ford. Or you can also leave a tele­phone mes­sage for me with brief de­tails by call­ing 01233 623232.

The High Street and Kings Pa­rade is pic­tured here in the sum­mer of 1951, dec­o­rated with bunting and a spe­cial ‘Wel­come’ arch near to the Coun­cil Cham­bers in Kings Pa­rade.

The Lower High Street, 1951, and an im­age show­ing a replica scale lo­co­mo­tive sit­ting on a plat­form dis­play in cel­e­bra­tion of the town’s long­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the rail­way in­dus­try and the build­ing of lo­co­mo­tives at Ash­ford rail works.

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