Wednesday 30 March 2011

The Festival of Britain at Borderlines

It's 60 years this May since the 1951 Festival of Britain. Borderlines is celebrating that time of austerity (a country still suffering deprivation from the effects of the Second World War) but also its progressive spirit, looking forward to change and greater prosperity. The Festival was intended as a kind of reward to the British population for what they had been through, ' a tonic to the nation' in the words of Gerald Barry, its director general.

We're showing a programme of films that were specially commissioned for the Festival of Britain but several of our classics, Rashomon, The African Queen, An American in Paris and The River date from 1951. There were no less than three cinemas in Hereford in 1951 and one of them, the County Theatre, held a Festival of British Film in July  as part of the local Festival of Britain celebrations. On the South Bank in London, the site of the main Festival exhibition, the Telekinema, the precursor of the National Film Theatre, showed 3D films and was extremely popular with visitors.

The South Bank will be the scene this summer of a 60th anniversary do with input from Tracey Emin, Ray Davies and Heston Blumenthal. Stella Mitchell from the fabulous Land of Lost Content in Craven Arms in Shropshire (go and visit - it's a treasure trove of 20th century popular culture) is one of the people who has been invited to contribute a Festival of Britain object. She's chosen a piece of ephemera, a paper parasol with the Festival of Britain symbol on it. She explains why:

All Photographs taken at of objects on display at The Land of Lost Content

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