Seminar: The Festival of Britain 1951

Ref: C3746983

Just six years after the Second World War, the British people were still experiencing the aftermath of conflict and post-war austerity. Aimed at marking the centenary of Great Exhibition of 1851, the Labour Government hosted the Festival of Britain. Opened on London’s South Bank in May 1951, the Festival of Britain aimed at lifting the spirits of the British people, offering a glimpse of a brighter future through a celebration of British industry, arts and science and the promise of a better Britain to come. This one-session course will present an overview of the Exhibition; how it was received by the British people at the time, and its significance in post-war British history.

Course aim

This day course will study the origins and impact of the Festival of Britain in 1951. It was presented as a 'cheer up' message to the people of Britain who were still recovering from the aftermath of war and post-war austerity.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • explain how the Festival of Britain originated and how it was received both at the time and in the context of post-war British history.
  • discuss three major social effects of the Festival of Britain.
  • discuss three major cultural effects of the Festival of Britain
  • discuss the political reactions to the Festival of Britain

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

No previous knowledge or experience of the period is required, although it would be great if anyone who visited the exhibition could relate their experiences and reminiscences. Other than that, just bring yourself. You'll be very welcome.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Seminar: The Festival of Britain 1951


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  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
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