The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Events Archive

The Festival of Britain 1951, a tonic to the Nation




Thursday 11 February at 18.30 Presented by Geoffrey Hollis


This is intended as an introduction to the Festival of Britain, in its 70th Anniversary year.  It will cover its genesis, key designers and architects, contents, and legacy. It succeeded wonderfully in terms of design and execution, and did indeed cheer up a populace who were depressed by post-war austerity.  The Festival created buildings and projects throughout the UK, with the main Festival site being on London’s South Bank. Yet, other than the Royal Festival Hall, nothing remains of its most brilliant South Bank structures.  This talk will help explain why.  The 1951 Festival of Britain vividly demonstrates what post-war talent could create, and how easily these structures and designs can be destroyed if no one cares for them.


Our journal Festival of Britain can be bought at a discounted rate in our shop

Geoffrey Hollis lives in a 1960s architect-designed house in Hatfield Hertfordshire, and in another life might have been an architect himself. He and his wife have used holidays to explore great architecture: Palladian Villas in the Veneto; Le Corbusier in France; Alvar Aalto in Finland; Frank Lloyd Wright in the USA;  and for several years spent January in Los Angeles and Palm Springs for Modernism Week. He has an active interest in conservation having been a Guide in an 18thC Palladian Mansion, and as Clocks Advisor to the Diocese of St Albans.


We’ll send you a Zoom link by email after you book, which will enable you to “join” the event, and we’ll be using the Q&A function to take questions at the end. If you’ve not used Zoom before, clicking on the Zoom link will take you through the set-up process, hopefully simply and smoothly! You should receive an automated link within an hour of booking so please check your spam/junk emails if you haven't received this. Any further problems please contact

Members £3, non-members £5

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The Twentieth Century Society is a registered charity, no 1110244.