The British Empire Exhibition of 1924

The Exhibition held in Wembley in 1924 was intended to herald a great Imperial revival - in fact, as Kenneth Walthew shows here, it was to prove an escapist delight from post-war gloom and retrenchment.

On St George's Day, April 23rd, 1924, King George the Fifth of England and Emperor of India, travelled through fog and drizzling rain from his castle at Windsor to the hitherto undistinguished north London suburb of Wembley Here, amid scenes of nearly hysterical patriotic fervour, he pressed a button on a golden globe to open the British Empire Exhibition.

Of the fifty-eight countries which at that time composed the British Empire, fifty-six were taking part, Gambia and Gibraltar being the only absentees The Exhibition was the largest and most ambitious ever staged anywhere in the world It was the culmination of five, years of delay and uncertainty, it had cost £12 million, most of which had been borrowed, and upon, it the nation had pinned its hopes for a bright future on a singularly depressing present.

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