June 23, 1951 | Filed under:

Yorkshire Post


When the Princess Royal officially opens the Festival of Britain land travelling exhibition at Woodhouse Moor, Leeds today, she will be inaugurating a comprehensive programme of events in which the city is offering displays and entertainment designed to cater for all tastes.

From a military parade, a students’ Rag procession, cycle races, a firework display and parachute jumping, to an open-air performance of “Merrie England,” symphony concerts and ballet, the celebrations provide one of the brightest and most varied programmes ever staged in Leeds.

The centre of the city is to Festival dress for the occasion with flags and bunting decorating the main streets, and shopkeepers, who are running a window display and spotting competition during the next three weeks, vying with one another in their efforts to show the West Riding that Leeds leads as a shopping centre.

A detachment of Household Cavalry in full ceremonial dress and a detachment of the Women’s Royal Army Corps will attend the military displays. Also at Woodhouse Moor are British Red Cross, road safety, National Savings, British European Airways and “Fairgrounds through the Ages” exhibitions.

Extra transport

Other attractions are an exhibition of musical scores, which opens in the Town Hall today, a funfair at Woodhouse Moor, open-air dancing at Woodhouse Moor, concerts in Roundhay Park, and a petroleum exhibition at Leeds University.

Extra trams will run from Roundhay Park to to the city centre tonight after the firework display finishes at 11 o’clock. An official of the Transport Department said yesterday that the trams would be able to carry all visitors to the park, but special buses would be in readiness if needed. No one need fear being stranded.

Tomorrow, an old custom will be revived when public representatives, including the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress (Lieut.-Colonel F. Eric Tetley and Mrs. Tetley) will walk in procession from the Civic Hall to the Parish Church for a Festival Sunday civic service. A Roman Catholic rally also will take place at Headingley football ground tomorrow. On Monday, the Lord mayor will open a book exhibition in the Central Library.

To cope with the diversity of traffic during the Festival celebrations, inspectors, head office staff and repair staff may be called upon if needed, to augment the number of drivers and conductors available. Appealing to the public to be tolerant, Alderman D. G. Cowling, chairman of the Transport Committee, said yesterday that the varied events would put an increased strain on the resources of the department at a time when they were already hampered by an acute shortage of staff due to the Z Reserve call-up, attendance at Territorial Army camps and summer holidays.

‘More interesting than South Bank’


Walking unnoticed round the Festival exhibition on Woodhouse Moor, Leeds, during yesterday’s Press preview was a man who has played a great part in Britain’s Festival year.

He was Mr. W. J. Fitt of Leigh-on-Sea, the architect responsible for the display construction of the land travelling exhibition, the South Bank Exhibition, the Campania’s exhibition, the Kelvin Hall (Glasgow) heavy industries exhibition, the London architectural exhibition, and the London science exhibition.

As he watched scores of white-overalled workmen putting the finishing touches to the displays yesterday, Mr Fitt said: “I think Yorkshire people who have already visited South Bank will find this exhibition more interesting and very much easier to understand.”

An architect of cinemas and West End shops for 30 years, Mr Fitt added that he had never known a job go so smoothly as the erection in Leeds of the travelling exhibition.

Work on the exhibition continued late last night, and all day, exhibit organisers carefully checked their own sections.

Mr. Richard Levin, designer of the exhibition had a smile on his face “We are very much happier about staging the Festival in a tent,” he said “It has been made to our own specification and is more roomy than a building of set shape. I think visitors will find it more airy than being indoors.”

Model theatre

In the children’s section, Mr. Peter Judge adjusted the scenes of his model theatre – the only automatic theatre eve made. He built it in the kitchen of his London flat in six months. Scene shifting, lighting, and the entrance of the players are controlled by bicycle chains driven by a small motor.

Producer and director of 40 mannequin shows a day, to be given in the exhibition’s own theatre, is Mr. Hubert Willis, of Rotherham, who at the age of 25, is one of the youngest in the business. Ten of the country’s leading mannequins will take part in the seven-minute shows, which will be given every quarter of an hour.

Marianne Codrington-Hall, who is to compere the shows, was busy yesterday trying on the black net evening frock she will wear.

A London girl, Marianne said she was missing her pets – nine dogs four cats, a pig, and a crow. Before she became a mannequin, Marianne lived in China for 11 years, where her father was a jade collector.

When the Princess Royal opens the exhibition today, everything will be in working order even if the paint is barely dry.

Five thousand exhibits tell the story of the people of Britain in all phases of their work and play. Section by section, 1,000 years of progress are vividly outlined in colourful scenes, giving fascinating examples of the crude inventions of the past alongside blueprints for the world of tomorrow.

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