The Great White City
The White City was originally envisaged as being the home of the Franco-British exhibition of 1908 which had been planned to eclipse the Great Exhibition of 1851. The land in Shepherd’s Bush had already been purchased and a design proposed by Imre Kiralfy for a ‘white city’ when the possibility of London holding the 4th Olympiad was proposed for the following year. It seemed an ideal solution to combine the two projects, with the Franco-British exhibition company funding the athletics stadium and giving the British Olympic Council use of the site for the two weeks of the Games.
The cultural and sporting heritage of the White City became an inspiration for artist Clare Burnett and film maker Clare Odgers (Artswest) who have worked with schools in the area to explore the history of the White City and to inspire fresh thinking about sport, the arts and the city. Among the projects were a film about the history of the White City made by Clare, and pupils from year 6 of St Stephen’s CE Primary School; an Italian Exhibition (with a marathon) by children and staff at the Pope John RC Primary School and an Olympic Sports day at Jack Tizard School accompanied by a film telling the story of the White City and the Olympics. A lasting legacy of all these efforts exists in the form of a website designed by Sav Kyriacou and funded by LBHF Extended Services. It is managed by the Kingwood City learning Centre and is a creative space for pupils and others to showcase art, film, sound and words inspired by the area and its sporting and cultural heritage. To go to the website, click on the box opposite
Selected books about the Great White City in the British Library's collections
Imperial International Exhibition, 1908 (LONDON) . Art portfolio of the Great White City, etc
Bemrose & Sons: London, 1909
London reference collections shelfmark: MIC.A.8029(4.)
Japan-British Exhibition, 1910 (LONDON)
Official Report of the Japan British Exhibition 1910, at the Great White City, Shepherd's Bush, London. [With illustrations and a plan.]
Unwin Brothers: London, 1911
London reference collections shelfmark: 7954.ff.10.
British Olympic Association.
Fourth Olympiad: being the Official Report of the Olympic Games of 1908 celebrated in London ... Drawn up by Theodore Andrea Cook, etc London, 1919
London reference collections shelfmark: 7904.d.7.
Knight, Donald R The exhibitions: Great White City, Shepherds Bush, London : 100th anniversary of the Franco-British Exhibition, 1908 – 2008
Barnet : D.R. Knight, 2008.
London reference collections shelfmark: YK.2010.a.5211
Imperial International Exhibition, 1909 (LONDON) The Great White City Official Souvenir Book ... Imperial International Exhibition, 1909.
Bemrose & Sons: London and Derby, [1909.]
London reference collections shelfmark: MIC.A.8028.(18.)