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Industries – Beautiful Things – British Empire Exhibition

B.E.E. 1924 (British Empire Exhibition)

Produced and exhibited by Hay & Robertson Ltd 

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Dunfermline Linen manufacturers, Hay & Robertson, produced this commemorative napkin for display at the British Empire Exhibition.

The British Empire Exhibition was a colonial exhibition held at Wembley Park, Wembley from 23rd April 1924 to 31st October 1925. The Exhibition's aim was to stimulate trade and strengthen bonds across the British Empire.

It cost £12 million and was the largest exhibition ever staged anywhere in the world.  Over 2000 men were involved in the construction and it attracted 27 million visitors!

A purpose built “great national sports ground”, called the Empire Stadium, was built for the Exhibition, which later became Wembley Stadium.

Wembley Park must have been quite a spectacle! The Indian pavilion had towers and domes, the West African pavilion looked like an Arab fort, the Burmese pavilion was a temple and the South African building reflected the Dutch style. Aside from the Stadium and major pavilions, there were four other major structures: the palaces of Engineering, Industry and Arts, and the HM Government Building. All of these had a Roman Imperial character.

In addition to the pavilions and kiosks there was a lake, a funfair, a garden and even a working replica coal mine. There were numerous restaurants and performances by massed bands and choirs, military and historical displays, fireworks, and a genuine rodeo which caused some alarm to animal lovers!