June 22, 1951 | Filed under:

Leeds Festival Show looks back over 1,000 years



Evening Post Reporter

WHEN the Festival of Britain Land Travelling Exhibition opens on Woodhouse Moor, Leeds, tomorrow, there may not be any wet paint as evidence of a last-minute rush. But an awful lot if will be still tacky.

As I went round with a Press preview party today, small armies of workmen scurried hectically in all directions. And an official said: “Some of the men will probably have to work throughout the night to put the finishing touches.”

But no matter what there is still to do, they have done a fine job so far. As a potted biography of 1,000 years of British life it is well worth seeing.

Model theatre

It’s all there, from the first pair of spectacles ever worn to a useful gadget for measuring the speed of gold balls in flight.

The exhibition is in five sections, showing design, people at home, work, play and travel. But not much of it applies to you or me. Rather to things to come.

There is a full-size observation railway coach, a marvel of glass and luxury; the only automatic “penny-plain-tuppence-coloured” model theatre in the world. Designed by a London artist, Peter Judge, it has seven scenes of exquisite beauty. And it’s all worked by yards of

bicycle chains.

Curious toys

The youngsters will have a whale of a time. There are model railways with working automatic couplings and signal-boxes, cars, toys of every sort. Children seem to have changed a bit recently. Under “Toys” in my catalogue was: “Bacteriological culture tubes.” But they were used for housing exhibits.

Under the “Things in the Hone” section, which showed luxury kitchens, and living rooms with the latest furniture and fittings was “1in.-2in. micrometer.” About the only use for that in my home would be measuring the meat ration.

Of interest to father is a live theatre show given by mannequins, a novel way of demonstrating the best clothes. In charge of this is one of the youngest theatrical directors in the business – Hubert Willis (25) whose parents live in Rotherham.

The mannequin-show-cum-play will be put on 40 times a day by nine girls working four-hours-on-four-off shifts.


Tomorrow the celebrations open in Leeds with one of the brightest, gayest programmes the city has ever had. It includes two parades – the march past of the Territorial units and of Rag Week procession – the opening of the festival Exhibition by the Princess Royal, amateur opera at Temple Newsam, a fairground on Woodhouse Moor and Parachute jumping at Roundhay Park.

Timetable for the day is :-
11 – Opening of Festival Exhibition.
2.30 – Flat and cycle races at Roudhay Park.
3 – March past of Territorial units (Town Hall, 3.30); Leeds College of Music, Headingley, “Midsummer Night’s Dream” (and 7.30); Donna Roma Ballet, Kirkstall Park (and 7); concert parties, Rounfhay Park (and 7); Leeds Amateur Operatic Society, “Merrie England,” Temple Newsam (and 7).
3.30 – Rag Procession.
7 Parachute jumping at Roundhay Park.
7.30 – Y.S.O., Town Hall. Harriet Cohen; and open-air dancing, Woodhouse Moor.
10.30 – Firework Display, Roundhay Park.

Other things to see during tomorrow are : -
Shopping Festival (spotting competitions in central Leeds shop windows).

Woodhouse Moor

Military and R.A.F. Exhibitions.
Fairgrounds Through the Ages Exhibition
British European Airways Exhibition
British Red Cross Exhibition
National Savings Exhibition
Road Safety Exhibition


Strain on transport

Inspectors, head-office staff and repair staff may be called upon to to augment the platform staff of Leeds City Transport to cope with the demands on traffic for the Festival week, Ald. D. G. Cowling (chairman of the Transport Committee) said today.

Appealing to the public to be tolerant, Ald. Cowling said the number of events arranged for the celebrations would put an increased strain on resources already hampered by an acute shortage of staff due to the Z call-up and holidays.