EXHIBITION STUDY GROUP

DEVOTED TO THE CONSERVATION AND STUDY OF ALL MATTERS RELATING TO EXHIBITIONS

Remains of the British Empire Exhibition
by Alan Sabey

Lions from the British Government Pavilion.
The most well-known items which can be seen to this day are two of the six Lions which 'guarded' the British Government Pavilion until its demolition in 1973. These are now situated near the entrance to the Animal Kingdom at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire. They are to be found on either side of the drive and can be seen without having to enter the Animal Kingdom.
Lion of Industry.
A version of the Lion of Industry can also be seen in a gallery on the top floor of the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington.
Drinking Fountains.
Two drinking fountains from the Main Avenue or Kingsway of the Exhibition grounds have found their way to Barham Park at the Sudbury end of Wembley where they have been placed either side of an ornamental gate leading to a small garden area.
Ministry of Labour Hut.
On Sunday April 24th 1983 contractors moved a square building from the garden of a house in Wembley, where it had been used as a Summer House, to the Grange Museum of Local History at Neasden. This building was one in which labourers were recruited for construction of the Exhibition between 1922 and 1924 and has the inscription 'Ministry of Labour' along the top. The house where it was originally, was sold for redevelopment and the building was offered to the Grange Museum.
Unfortunately it has remained in its original untreated condition ever since because it was found to contain Asbestos and would need thousands of pounds spent on it. It remains to this day with a flimsy polythene sheeting over it.
Lion Heads from the Garden Club.
The building which was the Wembley Garden Club during the 1925 Exhibition was demolished several years ago, but it was decided to save the two Lion Heads from above the entrances and they have now been set in the wall by the entrance to the new building on the site. Those who came on the walk around the Exhibition site with me in September 1993 will have seen them.
Foundation Stone from the Union of South Africa Pavilion.
In a similar vein, the Foundation Stone from the Pavilion of the Union of South Africa was transferred to the new building in the rebuilding in the 1950's.
Thrones used by King George V and Queen Mary at the Opening Ceremony.
In the Parish Church of St. John, Wembley at the western wall are to be found the two thrones used by King George V and Queen Mary at the Opening |||Ceremony in the Stadium in 1924.
City of Bath Pavilion.
The little pavilion of 'Aqua Sulis' for the city of Bath was returned to Bath after the close of the Exhibition and was re-erected in 1926 in the Botanic Garden with a suitable plaque.
Queen Mary's Dolls House.
Which was on display in a room in the Palace of Arts is now on display at Windsor Castle, and at one time it was possible to purchase a set of six postcards produced by Topical Press Ltd.
Half Timbered Wooden House.
'Falconers', Mount Hill, Salcombe, Devon was originally built as a half-timbered house for the 1925 Exhibition by the Federated Home Grown Timber Merchants' Association as a demonstration of the use of English Oak for construction, and other native timbers for interior decoration. The Exhibition brochure stated:- "The house is built exactly as half timbered dwellings were in the 15th Century, every timber, joint, mortise and tenon has been produced by the handiwork of craftsmen in the manner of 450 years ago and there probably does not exist in this country a building more clearly illustrating the conditions under which our ancestors lived at that period and during the following 450 years". After the close of the Exhibition, the house was purchased by Lady Moore and removed to Salcombe where it was erected in 1926 on its present magnificent site on 4 acres.
This information was from the Knight, Frank and Rutley Sale Catalogue of 1984 - it is interesting to note here that these same agents handled the sales by auction of the buildings and contents of the Exhibition site at Wembley, and also of course they produced the catalogue ready for the auction of the Crystal Palace in 1911, although in the event the auction did not take place.
Wrought Iron Gates.
On the Welsh borders is a garden, Hergest Croft, which is open to the public and within it are two wrought iron gates, one of which came from Wembley. The gate in question has a spray of feathers in its design and I should imagine that it was originally sited in the Horticultural Section. It was purchased after the close of the Exhibition and erected in these Gardens with a special purpose-made frame bearing the initials of the first owners - William Hartland Banks and Dorothy Banks. WHB has "19" beneath his initials and DB has "25" beneath her initials, thus giving us the year as 1925. Apart from a brief mention in the Guide Book to the Hergest Croft, there is no other indication as to the source of the gate.
'World Globe' lamps.
On the right-hand side of the right entrance to a rather exclusive Nursing Home in Southgate at the top of Cannon Hill, opposite Selbourne Road, are lamps set in modern iron posts. These are the 'World Globe' lights that illuminated the Exhibition for two years. At first I was disappointed when I recently went there, thinking that only the glass globes had survived. However, when I entered the drive and looked behind the bushes along the frontage with the pavement, I was delighted to see three of the original decorated concrete lamp standards but without the 'Exhibition' type lamps, just ordinary modern circular ones. Still, 75 years we must think ourselves fortunate that so many things have survived a World War and the hands of developers.

 


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