Festival of Britain Soap Coin
This item was recently donated to the Museum, it is a bar of soap which is in the shape of a coin from the festival of Britain which took place from May to October 1951 and was around the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851 which took place from the 1st May to 15th October. The Festival of Britain was arranged to celebrate the achievements of Britain and the things which they have accomplished and are planning to accomplish in the future, this included technological advancements, arts, scientific advancements and industrial design.
The government decided to hold the Festival of Britain to raise the morale of the people as they were still recovering from the end of World War Two, the idea was that the festival would take people’s minds off other things that were going on such as the need for housing etc. The festival cost a total of £12 million which caused some public backlash as people were calling it a waste of money as they felt that the Government should be investing their money in housing after many houses were destroyed during the war.
The Chief Organiser of the event was Labour Cabinet Minister Herbert Morrison. The site was cleared in October 1951 as Winston Churchills first act as Prime Minister as he branded it Socialist Propaganda. The event was branded a success as it is estimated that of the national population of 49 million, around half participated in some way. The most popular attraction was the South Bank Exhibition which attracted almost 8.5 million visitors of which half were from outside London.