|A view of the Franco-British Exhibition Buildings, London 1908|
The Franco-British Exhibition opened in an area near Shepherds Bush in West London in 1908. Primarily designed to celebrate the "Entente Cordiale" signed with France in 1904, it opened on the 14th May 1908 and closed on the 31st October 1908, having attracted a very credible 8.2 million visitors at one shilling apiece. This was the first International Exhibition co-organised and sponsored by two countries and proved to be a phenomenal success.
The Exhibition covered an area of some 140 acres, including an artificial lake surrounded by 120 exhibition buildings and 20 pavilions. Most were designed in an Oriental style, with domes and arabesque arches but also quite strikingly, all were painted white over plaster. This area of London is in fact still known as "White City".
|A Grafton & Sons China cup & saucer set carrying the attractive|
1908 Franco-British Exhibition crest with the British and French
|The location of the Franco-British Exhibition marked in pink at far left|
as shown on a 1908 railway map of London.
|A miniature vase carrying the attractive 1908 Franco-British|
Exhibition crest with the British and French national flags.
Colonial Pavilions represented India, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. An "Irish Village" inhabited by 150 Irish girls and particularly a native French "Senegalese Village" (among other colonial villages) displayed day to day life which showcased the "success and achievements" of Imperialism. The Exhibition naturally attracted many overseas and colonial visitors, including members of my own family from New Zealand.
|The site of the Franco-British Exhibition detailed in pink at far left,|
as shown on a street and railway map of central London, 1908.
The exhibition site itself is now occupied by the BBC Television Centre and the Westfield Shopping Centre. The last remaining buildings of the 1908 exhibition were demolished to make way for the Westfield development which opened as recently as 2008. Frithville Gardens, once part of the Japanese Garden, is the only part of the 1908 exhibition site still visible.
For a wonderful collection of period postcard images of the Exhibition I recommend this site :
- Internet resources.
- Walkers Pocket Atlas & Guide to London, 1908 (from my own collection).
- All images and artefacts are from my own collections. These images may not be used for commercial purposes without my express permission.