Starting a Fresh
During the early post war years the world changed dramatically. America was established as the world’s super power and the UK’s former territories of the commonwealth had well established their independence. Britain’s Empire State was in conflict with a new age. Expectations and attitudes were shifting and the whole world was in the grip of a massive drive to modernise.
After the war, Britain needed to convince the world that they were still in the driving seat on the world’s journey for what was to come. In 1951, the Festival of Britain exhibition offered Britons who had experienced a rationed and weary number of war-torn years a glimpse of a better future through new architecture, design and audacious feats of engineering. It had a huge influence on British society, kick starting a process of state-led reconstruction and renewal across the UK.
All photography by RIBA Collections and their respective photographers
Our Recommended Read
Author Owen Hopkins has explored the rise of 35 buildings, which were constructed between 1945 and 1979, and has examined how social, economic and political factors contributed to their destruction or regeneration – from Park Hill Estate in Sheffield to Hulme Crescents in Manchester. This was a period when many believed that architecture and innovative design could pave the way for a better future, and now thanks to Hopkins’s contribution we have a record of the movement before it completely disappears. Featuring works by renowned architects such as Erno Goldfinger and Peter Smithson, Lost Futures: The Disappearing Architecture of Post-War Britain is a 128-page visually pleasing must-read for all interested in history and design. Click on the image below for information.