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Festival In London

Taken from the production file (Catalogue ref: INF 6/1944)

Commentary: This is the Festival.

Something Britain devised, halfway through this century, As a milestone between past and future, To enrich and enliven the present. A diverse place, of serious fun, and light-hearted solemnity; Reclaimed from the bomb-wrack, and the decay of years; Here, in the heart of London.

It is open house on the South Bank. To those from home, and to those who come from other lands. How to show the essence of Britain? Here, beneath the Dome of Discovery, vast as a city square, appears the story of the great researches. Of man's probing into mysteries, of his revelations of the hidden worlds, his mastery of unknown things, his harnessing of secret forces. This is the world of the pioneers, of Darwin, who opened new doors of thought, of Newton, of atomic research, of Captain Cook. Of nuclear physics, and great works of humanity. Florence Nightingale, Alexander Fleming. And so, to the world of today. To the things we make. Machines, Radar and jet propulsion. Speed and ingenuity. The skills that made the British workman famous.

These are things our Festival shows in the making. This is the solid centre of the Festival; Design and craftmanship and quality that go to make the fame of Britain's goods. Well, we get all sorts. All types. All opinions.

That's us. Or some of us. For we're more than that... We are the Lion and the Unicorn.

The Lion is our strength; the Unicorn our imagination.

We smile at our follies and our most profound beliefs;

Such as tradition.

Such as peace.

Such as justice.

Such as, it must be faced, a belief in the equal value Of the nobler matters of patriotism... And in the White Knight of Lewis Carroll and in the works of Mr. Lear. The long nosed lady and Alice... beside it all runs the Thames. Upstream to Battersea, linking the big show with its brighter half. So we gave welcome to our guests, and delight to ourselves. Sharing our pleasure in the things we know so well, and preserve so consistently.

Lights and laughter; all the merriment

Of a people who build with gladness on an old inheritance.

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