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The Festival of Britain in the Black Country

July 22, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Artsfest Online and the Black Country Studies Centre are pleased to present a series of events commemorating the 70 year anniversary of the Festival and its impact in the Black Country.

What do a javelin, a lighthouse and a ceramic porcupine all have in common? These are just three of the many Black Country made objects that featured in the 1951 Festival of Britain.

In this talk, BCLM researchers Simon Briercliffe and Jenny Gilbert explore some of the Black Country’s finest contributions to the Festival as well as how the Festival was celebrated in the region.

Numerous Black Country manufacturers were featured in Festival exhibitions – highlighting the innovative role of the region and the influence of Black Country industry in shaping consumer tastes. Meanwhile, closer to home, Dudley and Walsall hosted historical pageants, Stourbridge held an exhibition of glass and the businesses of Brierley Hill came together for a special parade. And Mrs Betty Morris of Smethwick won the regional heats of the hotly contended Festival Fare cookery contest.

Join Jenny and Simon for an entertaining glimpse at an unforgettable summer of Festival fun, with a distinctly Black Country twist.

Dr Jenny Gilbert coordinates the Black Country Studies Centre and is also a Researcher at the Black Country Living Museum. She previously lectured in design history and theory and continues to research mid-twentieth century working class dress.

Simon Briercliffe is a Researcher at the Black Country Living Museum, and a doctoral researcher in Black Country history at the University of Birmingham. His new book on the Black Country in the 1940s-1960s is published in July with History West Midlands.

Get a Taste of the Festival at BCLM

From 17th May, the Black Country Living Museum’s Folkes Park is hosting the Festival of the Black Country – a mini celebration of the 1951 Festival of Britain. Alongside a display of Black Country-made 1950s kitchen and homewares, there will be a cookery demonstration based on the Festival Fare cookery competition and the regional winner, Mrs Betty Morris. You can book your visit to BCLM online now.

Image credit: Stourbridge glassware on display in the ‘Power & Production’ pavilion at the Festival of Britain (Design Council Archive, University of Brighton Design Archives).


Black Country Studies Centre
01902 322561


Online – Zoom