23rd April 2024 by

British Empire Exhibition 100th anniversary

The British Empire Exhibition was opened on 23 April 1924 by King George V and Queen Mary at the Empire Stadium. The King gave a speech on the opening day which was broadcast by the BBC, becoming the first broadcast made by a British monarch on radio. 

The exhibition was described as a successor to the Great Exhibition of 1851. But this new event had a much more specific agenda: to bring together only the dominions, colonies, mandates and protectorates of the British Empire, to display their common interests and cooperation, to promote their industries and produce and to encourage Imperial trade. 

The exhibition site covered over 200 acres and included pavilions displaying the produce, industries and crafts of different colonies and dominions. These were developed and organised by the respective colonial governments. 56 out of 58 territories participated with their displays and pavilions. There were also over 40 different cafés, restaurants and places of refreshment, a children’s crèche and the ‘Treasure Island’ attraction which boasted a miniature train.

Although popular with most visitors, the exhibition was a financial disaster, making a loss of around £1.5 million by the time it closed on 31 October 1925. Most buildings on the site were demolished, however it was decided to leave the Palace of Industry and the Empire Stadium standing. The Empire Stadium was renamed Wembley Stadium and stood for another 78 years until it was replaced by a new stadium in 2003.

Join the discussion

0 people are already talking about this, why not let us know what you think?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *