Benincasa, Caterina (2013) From Repellent to Resurgent- Liverpool and the 1951 Festival of Britain. In: Transformation of Urban Britain Since 1945, 9-10 July 2013, Centre for Urban History University Leicester. (Unpublished)

There has been an expansion in the literature documenting a variety of aspects of the 1951 Festival of Britain (Atkinson, Games, Gooden, Powers and Turner) since the publication of Becky Conekin’s The Autobiography of a Nation, a decade ago. Even though it was a nationwide celebration, most of the writing that exists about The Festival, at best focuses on what happened in London and at worst, ignores the north of England.
Liverpool was chosen by The Arts Council and the Festival Office in London, as one of a number of cities nationwide to hold Arts Festival status during 1951. The corporation was optimistic that their Festival of Britain celebrations might enhance civic pride in their still very much bomb damaged and depressed city. Architectural restoration, voucher schemes for entertainment and the exploitation of topography were all implemented in the run up to the Festival. This research on Liverpool compliments the authors PhD research undertaken concerning the cities of York, Leeds, Manchester and Hull, their identities of place and the 1951 Festival of Britain. In this paper the reasons for the success or failure of Liverpool’s Festival of Britain celebrations will be explored and evaluated.

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