Sunday, May 15, 2011

Festivals and Flags

Last Sunday saw the very first Vintage festival at Farnham Maltings.

My chap, Giles and I donned our most comfortable vintage-looking clothes and went on our way. We didn’t go that far back, perhaps to the 60s or 70s. We definitely felt ‘the part’ while we were there and that was what mattered. We had a splendid morning and came back with some wonderful bookish finds from the festival. We’re really hoping they do another next year, for which we will make more of an effort in order to perhaps be in with a chance for the Best Dressed contest.

As well as having a fabulous time perusing the rails of pinnies and needlework books of old (me) and the rather large selection of vintage cameras (Giles), we also made a few purchases.

Big stack of lovely books.

The tantalising stack of books above, comprises three bound volumes of Stitchcraft from the early 1930s and 1940s (you can read more about them in a post on my own blog, here)…and underneath is an original guide to the Festival of Britain in 1951. 2011 marks the 60th anniversary of the national exhibition which opened in London on 3rd May 1951.  The Festival was put on in a time when Britain was in ruins from bombing and still living with austerity measures after the Second World War. It was part of a larger strategy to aid the feeling of recovery and to promote quality design in the rebuilding of British towns and cities following the war.

The Festival also celebrated the centenary of the 1851 Great Exhibition, an anniversary in itself. The main exhibition site was on the South Bank in London, but lots of others were held in other parts of London, Glasgow and many other festival sites around the country.

The picture above shows the layout on the South Bank in London. Buildings such as the Royal Festival Hall were built especially for the festival and remain today. This particular piece of Thames riverside was given a complete overhaul, having previously been shipping wharves, but for 4 months in 1951 it was the centre of Britain's cultural universe.

This year's 60th anniversary celebrations this summer sound like a lot of good fun. There will be all sorts of music, art exhibitions, a literary festival, vintage stylings and lots more. Although many of the original features won't be there, I'm going to take my 1951 guidebook with me and see if I can recreate the original in my mind, if not in reality.

I think a really great thing to wear at the South Bank would be Helene Magnusson's Flag cardigan don't you? I can see visitors wrapped up in wonderfully patriotic garb in the evenings, whilst watching some outdoor comedy and enjoying a cup of tea.

You could get one knitted, if you started now, you know...

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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