The Festival of Britain 1951

(c) Vin Callcut 2002-2017. Small extracts can be used with acknowledgements to '' website.

Helpful comments are very welcome.


  By the end of the 1940s, Britain was well on the way to recovering prosperity and adjusting fully to a peacetime economy.  ‘Austerity’ was still the watchword and there was an obvious need to rebuild national pride and international exports.  Following the ‘Britain can Make It’ exhibition in London in September of 1946 there was now a need for a bigger effort.  Effective planning started in 1948 with the appointment of Hugh Casson as Director of Architecture.  It was timed to mark 100 years since the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park that had been so successful that it raised money to build the Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and Albert Hall in Exhibition Row.

    An extensive area of the South Bank of the River Thames in the centre of London was cleared in order to make a site for the exhibition that could be put to permanent good use.  The plans included permanent fixtures such as a riverside walk and the impressive Festival Hall.  Several temporary exhibition building were erected and the old tower used for making lead shot was converted to send signals to the moon.  A main decorative feature was the ‘Skylon’, an aluminium cigar shape suspended off the gound and upright from surrounding. 

The logo gave rise to many souvenirs, some of which are quite collectible.

Festival souvenirs









1951Festival of Britain – a ‘Britain can make it’ exhibition staged 100 years after the 1851 Great Exhibition. 

This mark is not common and so items may be of special interest.  The 1948 competition to design the official  logo was won by Abram Games.  This enamelled version is on a souvenir copper egg cup made by Linton.



egg timer


The logo on the egg cup, an egg timer and a pendant.






peerage logo


This diecast brass logo was used by Peerage on a variety of their products.






6823 brassware


Here are examples of the logo on many useful and decorative items.





4146 horse brass


The logo was used as a bold statement in the design of these horse brasses and door knockers.






and for the handle of a poker.







pin badge



 A  nicely made small die cast brass pin badge with Tower Bridge suspended below.



5196 boardman


This version of the emblem on a badge is surrounded by the initials 'CPBC' and is stamped on the back by Boardman of Glasgow.  












A very neat souvenir was made in the form of this small ball pen for a ladies handbag.







pen 4





powder compact


The emblem was etched into the surface of a powder compact to make an excellent souvenir of the year.  Diameter 77mm (3"). Photo contrast enhanced for the illustration.  Maker unknown.