June 22, 1951 | Filed under:


A pre-view of tomorrow’s Festival


Y.E. News Reporter

WHEN Leeds people walk along the scientific corridors of the Festival of Britain travelling exhibition on Woodhouse Moor, Leeds, during the next three weeks, they may feel their lay minds reeling at first.

To-morrow at 11 a.m. The Princess Royal opens this largest-ever show on wheels and to-day the Press had a private peep inside to the tune of workmen’s saws, hammers, the swish of the paint-brush.

There are 5,000 exhibits.

We craned back our necks to watch the 16 massive pendulums in the Corridor of Time swinging across the ages and winking out in startling lights the chapters of our scientific progress.


But that is only the beginning. Enter the domed chamber of invention, discovery and design and you are in the atmosphere of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory – countless witches, flashing lights, chromium tubing, giant test tubes, and coloured arrows “chasing” each other round the dome at great speed.

Many things here are traced back to their origin. Did you know that our ancestors once sat crouched beside the body of the stormy petrel, a wick thrust down its gullet, and the oil of its body providing the illumination ? Nearby, just to remind you that this is 1951, is fluorescent lighting.

In the theatre of fashion, mannequins are giving 40 parades a day of everything from corsets to cocktail clothing on a full-sized stage.

These are no ordinary parades, for they take the form of unspoken plays.

Compering the shows from the little stage box on the left is Marianne Codrington-Hall.


Marianne knows a lot about clothes, is charming, and you would never guess that, apart from painting in water colours, her hobbies are looking after boxer dogs, a pet pig, Matilda, a pet crow, which she found when it had a broken wing, four cats and nine dogs at her London home.

Producer and director of the mannequin shows is a Yorkshireman, Mr Hubert Willis, of Rotherham, and at 25, the youngest in the business.

People are bound to ask who made the model theatre – the first ever made to work automatically – and how long it took. Well, the answers are: Mr. Peter Judge, a young London painter, and it took him nearly 5,000 hours in his kitchen.

It has seven changes of scenery, many different coloured lighting effects and – if you could take a peep behind – you would see it being driven from a small electric motor by bicycle chains.

There are hints on how to arrange a garden in your sitting room if you like gardens that way; the last word in camping, riding, rock-climbing equipment and jet turbine engines, and you can sample some of the atmosphere in the latest type of railway observation coach.

Children will want to spend most of their time in the toy section. There is a model railway, a giant model of Blackpool Wheel, and a toy motor-car with its own electric lights.

The exhibition is the size of 12 tennis courts.