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Festival of Britain Season: Dr Jane Webb revisits A Tonic for the Nation

May 13, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

South Bank Festival

The Black Country Studies Centre and Artsfest Online are pleased to present a series of events commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Festival of Britain and its impact in the Black Country. Throughout the summer, we’ll be hosting a number of online lectures and events exploring different aspects of the Festival. In this first lecture ‘Revisiting a Tonic to the Nation’ Dr Jane Webb will introduce the Festival and set the scene for our summer of celebrations!

The Festival of Britain was opened to the public 70 years ago. Set in a landscape reverberating with post-war economic and social uncertainties, the event (scheduled from May to September of 1951) was intended to be a tonic to aid the nation’s recovery. This talk provides an introduction to the London site of the Festival of Britain and will explore the intentions of its organisers, a description of the South Bank exhibition and other venues in the capital, and the design language chosen for the Festival. Using the 1976 book A Tonic to the Nation: The Festival of Britain 1951 (edited by Mary Banham and Bevis Hillier) as a starting point, the lecture goes on to explore ways of thinking about the event and its legacy.

Dr Jane Webb trained in art history and anthropology, and has worked in art schools teaching design history and theory to designers and artists for over twenty five years. Though Jane’s research is more usually in the field of fashion and dress, she enjoys a frequent foray into broader design history, and particularly into one of her favourite topics – the Festival of Britain

Image credit: The Festival of Britain Guide, 1951.


Black Country Studies Centre
01902 322561


Online – Zoom