National festival celebrated Great Britain
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.
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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.