The Festival of Britain was a national exhibition which opened in London and around Britain in May 1951. The official opening was on 3 May. The principal exhibition site was on the South Bank Site, London of the River Thames near Waterloo Station. Other exhibitions were held in Poplar, East London (Architecture), Battersea Park (The Festival Gardens), South Kensington (Science) and the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow (Industrial Power) as well as travelling exhibitions that toured Britain by land and sea. Outside London major festivals took place in Cardiff, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bath, Perth, Bournemouth, York, Aldeburgh, Inverness, Cheltenham, Oxford and other centres.
At that time, shortly after the end of World War II, much of London was still in ruins and redevelopment was badly needed. The Festival was an attempt to give Britons a feeling of recovery and progress and to promote better-quality design in the rebuilding of British towns and cities following the war. The Festival also celebrated the centenary of the 1851 Great Exhibition. It was the brainchild of Gerald Barry and the Labour Deputy Leader Herbert Morrison who described it as "a tonic for the nation".