David Davies: at the Festival of Britain

David Davies tells story of visiting the Festival of Britain exhibition of 1951.

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I went to the Festival of Britain as, maybe other people have mentioned to you going to the Festival of Britain, I don’t know, but Festival of Britain was this 1951 celebration of all things British, and that was very tech oriented. I mean jet engines and aeroplanes and television and all those sort of things. And I only went for a day and most of the day was spent with, you know, just enjoying the fun of being out on those – in that sort of campus that they had but, you know, this is all part of saying the future’s technology, the future’s science and technology. But I think I remember what almost everybody remembered which was the Skylon, which was this incredible sort of cigar shaped needle that went up into the sky and didn’t seem to be supported by everything. And the Dome of Discovery which was packed full of inventions, amazing British inventions that – with cut outs of jet engines and that sort of thing. And then there was a – something that a lot of people who I’ve spoken to about the Festival of Britain remembered which was quite irrelevant [laughs], it was a water fountain which was a lot of sort of metal buckets sort of shaped like [demonstrates] oh I can’t do this, bucket, sort of buckets on pivots and the water came in at the top and filled up the bucket and the bucket tipped over and it emptied water into the next one and then the next one next one. And people were absolutely gripped by this sort of rather random process of klonk, klonk, klonk klonk klonk like that, and no end of people that I've – anybody I’ve ever spoken to of the Festival of Britain remembers that, even above the Skylon and Dome of Discovery, and I was fascinated by it too. I can’t remember, I probably went with my grandparents who were living in London at the time rather than with my – my parents. But it was inspirational, it was meant to be inspirational like the Great Exhibition of 1851, it was meant to be – you know, to inspire people to what could be done, you know, it made a mark on me.

  • Interviewee David Davies
  • Duration 00:02:09
  • Copyright British Library Board
  • Interviewer Paul Merchant
  • Date of interview 3/15/2012
  • Shelfmark C1379/60
  • Keywords

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