Between May and September 1951 a grand exposition was held throughout Great Britain. This 'Tonic to the Nation' as it was dubbed, was masterminded by Gerald Barry, who, as editor of the News Chronicle, had been instrumental in running a campaign to promote the idea of a great exhibition similar to the one held in 1851.
With the full backing of the post-war Labour Government, and under the overall command of Herbert Morrison, Barry and his Festival Council assembled an impressive group of designers, architects and builders to give Britain an exhibition that would rekindle the belief that Britain was great.
This was to be no exhibition held in reconditioned buildings, with showcases full of dusty relics. It was to be more a celebration of who the British were, what they had achieved, and what they were going to achieve. With architects and designers such as Hugh Casson, Mischa Black, Ralph Tubbs and Osbert Lancaster, there were grand plans for modernistic buildings to house the exhibition.
The festival Queen for Rishton was Jean Scholes. Above is a picture showing the Festival Queen making a presentation on Tuesday 21st August 1951, at the opening of the children's library by County Alderman Lady Openshaw J.P., Chairman of the Lancashire County Library. The following are some of the names. Festival Queen Jean Scholes, Crown Bearer, Rhona Whitmey (the young one in the middle), and the two attendants were Miss Mary Baldwin and Miss Betty Hargreaves, there were also three page boys Alan Howland, Terence Case and Alan Whitman.
The Festival was to be in many parts, rising from small village celebrations up to a grand purpose built exhibition on the South Bank of the Thames in London.
On the 14th June 1951, support was given to local celebrations in connection with the Festival of Britain, and that expenses not exceeding £100 be incurred in this connection.
The Council Clerk reported that a request had been received from the Festival of Britain Celebrations Committee on the 16th August 1951, for sites to be chosen by the Council for trees to be provided by that Committee. It was Resolved that it be suggested to the Committee that consideration would be given nearer the time suitable for planting.
Rishton's festival activities ran from the 18th August to the 26th August 1951.
On the 30th August 1951, The Council Chairman expressed his thanks to all who had in any way participated in the arrangements for the celebrations in the district.
The photo taken at the Skylon on the South Bank at the Festival of Britain was I think all members of Rishton Secondary Modern School.
Dorothy Dean, June Simpson, Joan Pilkington, Joyce Holden, Freda Nutall, Brenda?, Pamela Hayhurst, Jean Mason, Barbara Stapleton.
The teachers were, Miss Butler, Miss Harris and Mrs. Rushton. (The headmaster at that time was Mr. Ernest Hooper).
Saturday 18th August 1951
of Tableaux, Trade Vehicles, Festival Queen, Crown Bearer, Attendants and Pages etc.
The procession will commence at 1 - 30 pm on the signal of a peal of bells.
Parker Street, Talbot Street, Burton Street, James Street and Holt Street. Children assemble in Chapel Street.
Hermitage Street, Spring Street, Bridge Street, Cliffe Street, Walmsley Street, Knowles Street, Station Road, Blackburn Road.
Opposite the Parish Church
Miss King - Wilkinson (Slaidburn), Councillor R. Smith (Clayton Le Moors), Mr. J. Spiers (Accrington).
N. E. Lancashire Military Band, Blackburn British legion, Hurst Green Prize Band.
Mr. S. Leeming has kindly loaned his field for races, tug-of-war, Punch and Judy, Roundabouts, Chair-a-planes, Coconut Stalls, Swing-boats, etc., etc.
Messrs. Palatine Dairies have the catering for the public.
To be presented by the Chairman of the Council, Councillor J. W. Sanderson, J. P.
FESTIVAL QUEEN, CROWN BEARER, ATTENDANTS, and PAGES
Festival Queen: Miss Jean Scholes
Crown Bearer: Miss Rhona Whitmey
Attendants: Miss Mary Baldwin, Miss Betty Hargreaves
Pages: Master Alan Howland, Master Terence Case, and Master Alan Whitman.
Merle Paul (nee Whitmey) via Email, Festival Queen picture.
Rishton on Record, The Festival of Britain 1951.