Festival of Britain, 1951

Reference: VariousDate: 1951Extent: Objects and artworks, selected archives, and some library material

The Museum of English Rural Life holds a range of objects and artworks that were originally on display at the South Bank Exhibition site of the Festival of Britain in 1951. Prominent amongst these holdings are:

  • a series of large wall-hangings designed by artist Michael O’Connell
  • a series of original Michael O’Connell designs for the wall-hangings
  • original designs for another set of artworks called The Farming Year
  • a series of strawcraft sculptures made by the maker Fred Mizen
  • craft tools and equipment for thatching, basketry, and hurdle-making
  • a series of model ploughs representing different regional/historical designs
  • souvenirs and other objects that reference the Festival of Britain

The Museum also holds original library and archive materials (often part of other named collections) that connect to this same event. This material includes:

  • journal publications that pay reference to the Festival of Britain (e.g. Farmers Weekly)
  • books and booklets connected to the event (e.g. souvenir guide book)
  • photographs of sites and artworks from the Festival (e.g. Farmers Weekly and John Tarlton photographs)

In addition to material held within The MERL object, archive, and library collections, other University of Reading collections also contain material linked directly to this event and its history. The main collection of relevance here is the Great Exhibition Collection, which largely comprises material linked to the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851 but also includes a smaller quantity of material related to the Festival of Britain.

What can I see

VIEW

A Land

51 Voices

VIEW

The Country Year

51 Voices

VIEW

Horse Brass

51 Voices

VIEW

Festival Guide

51 Voices

  • Looking for a specific item?

    We are regularly updating the collections that we publish on our website but if you are after something specific that you can't find online, then drop by for a visit or feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you.