June 23, 1951 | Filed under:

‘Get a souvenir for 2051 to show what 1951 was like”

PRINCESS ROYAL LAUNCHES FESTIVAL IN LEEDS

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By CON GORDON

ONE of the biggest assemblies of civic and other notabilities that Yorkshire has even seen was assembled in the foyer of the Festival of Britain Travelling Exhibition at Woodhouse Moor, Leeds, today, to greet the Princess Royal when she came to open the exhibition.

There were mayors and lord mayors from all over Yorkshire, M.P.s, civic representatives, university representatives and robes and uniforms of everything from the Church to the W.V.S.

Outside, the flags fluttered in the breeze, and a vast crowd thronged Woodhouse Lane and the adjoining streets to see the Princess.

She arrived in the foyer alongside the Lord mayor of Leeds, Lieut.-Col. F. Eric Tetley with the Chief Constable (Mr J. Barnett) and the mace bearer walking in front.

The Princess was wearing a full-length light beige coat with cuffs, and a dress of the same colour underneath it. Her hat and gloves were also light beige. The hat was a large straw one with white veiling.

She wore a double link of pearls and on her lapel a diamond fob brooch. Her shoes were light chocolate colour.

For good of mankind in the future

The Lord Mayor, introducing the Princess Royal, said the scientific side of our life, of which the Exhibition showed examples, had been achieved by two great wars, from which, in spite of their destructiveness we had learned a great deal for the good of mankind in the future.

“Whether we admire some of the things we shall see in this Exhibition I shall leave to you,” said the Lord Mayor, “but it does show an enormous advance during the 100 years since the Exhibition of 1851, and I think we can be justly proud of the achievements that have been made.”

The Princess Royal sat on the platform between the Lord Mayor and the Earl of Scarborough. Mr Gerald Barry, the Festival head, was at the end of the front row, and behind were Alderman James Croysdale, Alderman D. Beevers, Mr. O. A. Radley, the Town Clerk; Dr. G. A. Chase, the Bishop of Ripon, and Lieut.-General Sir P. M. Balfour, the G.O.C.-in-C. Northern Command.

The Princess rose to her feet and said it gave her very great pleasure to open the exhibition among her fellow citizens in a county for which she had such great affection.

“may I suggest to you,” she said, “that if you buy a well-chosen souvenir and keep it safely, it will give your descendants of he year 2051 a chance to see what our workmanship and ideas were like in 1951.

“Like the air we breathe,” she said, “the Festival spirit is all around us, and you yourselves are part of it. Everyone has a part to play, down to the individual giving hospitality in his own home or offering helpful advice to the stranger asking his way in the street.

The enduring purpose of the Festival is a serious one, although it offers plenty of opportunities to enjoyment and relaxation.

“In a diversity of ways we are exhibiting the skill of our scientists, artists, engineers and craftsmen and all they have contributed to the well-being of mankind.

“This Festival proves, if proof were ever needed,” said the Princess, “that we have our part to perform among nations, now as always, because the

values and virtues of democracy are sorely needed in a universe given to violence and extremes.”

Mr Gerald Barry said Leeds’s contribution to the Festival of Britain promised to be one of the most striking and outstanding in the country and it did great credit to the civic enterprise of the city.

THANKS TO LEEDS

“We of the Festival are certainly intensely glad that we invited Leeds to receive our Exhibition,” he said.

“We hope Leeds will like it.

“I thank the Leeds Festival Committee for the distinguished, full and varied programme of events it has arranged,” he said. “I know by now something of the hard and devoted work that the organisation of a programme of this standard must have entailed.

“The way this fine site has been placed generously at our disposal and has been prepared and beautified is most gratifying.”

The Princess and her party then toured the Exhibition, followed by the visitors.

EXHIBITION TOUR

In her tour of the exhibition, the Princess Royal was a most interested spectator. She examined many exhibits thoroughly, asking questions if she was not quite sure, and turning to other members of the party and explaining a point here and there to them.

In the “People at Home” section she was impressed by the contrast between old and new shown there. The television set built into the wall intrigued her.

A model of two rooms, one old and one new, which lit up by the pressure of a button, interested her very much. She pressed the button and then at the request of her lady-in-waiting pressed it again.

In the fireplace section the Princess Royal had a word of praise for old-type fireplaces, “They are still very attractive in design,” she said.

In the children’s room she looked at a high bunk and said: “I should be afraid of the children falling out.” Said one of the Festival officials: “That’s for the older children.”

From there she went to the “People at Play” section and saw the wonderland of toys and working models.

But she did not hesitate to pas criticism. Pointing to revolving stands of soft toys she said: “They go a little too fast. They ought to be a little slower so that you can see the exhibits.”

At the home cinema the Princess Royal smiled as a film of Prince Charles at play came on the screen. She saw Prince Charles with his mother and father at the age of eight months.

Turning to the party she said: “You would be surprised to see him running about now.”

The Princess missed little in the house section of the exhibition, but she bestowed very little time on the turbine jets and so on.

The fashion display took her fancy., and she said some of the dresses were charming.

TODAY’S EVENTS

Festival events in Leeds today include : –

7 – Parachute jumping at Roundhay Park
7.30 – Y.S.O., Town Hall, Harriet Cohen; and open air dancing, Woodhouse Moor.
10.30 – Firework Display, Roundhay Park.

TOMORROW

10.30 – Civic service at Leeds Parish Church, with the Yorkshire symphony Orchestra in attendance.
1.30 – Roam Catholic procession leaves Town Hall for mass rally and demonstration at headingley football ground.
2.30-11 – Festival Exhibition, woodhouse Moor.

MONDAY

10.30a.m.-11p.m. – Festival Exhibition, Woodhouse Moor.
7.30 – Organ recital by Dr. Melville Cook, Leeds Parish Church. Civic Theatre play, “In Good King Charles’s Golden Days.”