A collection of national events held in the British summer of 1951. Opened by King George, the festival was meant to raise Britain's spirits as it recovered from the Second World War, at a time when austerity was still rampant, the welfare state was coming into play and the Empire was soon to disappear. In some respects it marked the beginning of post-war prosperity.

The festival was centred in London with a large exhibition park at South Bank, and more recreational activites at the Pleasure Gardens at Battersea. A touring exhibition brought the festivals to other parts of the country - there were events focussing on art, music and drama in specific towns like Stratford on Avon.

Exhibits demonstrated the country's industrial and cultural achievements, under a banner of progressivenationhood. References to Britishness - like the Lion and Unicorn Pavillion, were combined with ideas about how the Britain can survive in the new world. Amongst the new, Modern art was introduced to the British public.

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