This film is part of Free

Festival of Britain.

The Festival of Britain is the star of this remarkable colour film from 1951.

Amateur film 1951 16 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


Filmed during a family visit to the Festival of Britain, on London's South Bank, this colour film captures many of the iconic landmarks of that historic event as well as other surprising features. Amid shots of the Skylon and Dome of Discovery, we see several Henry Moore sculptures, fountains, the Power & Production Building, the Festival Hall, locomotives for export and aircraft on display and, remarkably for the time, a game of wheelchair basketball.

The iconic Skylon, Dome of Discovery and most of the other exhibition structures at the Festival of Britain were demolished, supposedly on Churchill's orders, as the event had been organised by the previous Labour government of Clement Atlee. It's said that the Skylon was dismantled and dumped into the adjacent River Thames. Today, only the Festival Hall remains, while the surrounding site has been completely redeveloped. Wheelchair basketball can trace its origins back to the Second World War, when large numbers of wounded veterans sought rehabilitation through sport. On the 25th November 1946, a group of such veterans played the first documented game of wheelchair basketball in the United States.