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Festival of Britain News Chronicle Guide to London 1951

  • £sold
  • Stock Code: 23180
  • Author: STONE, Lawrence
  • Publisher: News Chronicle Publications Department, 12/22 Bouverie Street, London EC4
  • Engraver: George Philip & Son, Ltd, London
  • Date: 1951
  • Dimensions: Wrapper (front only): 10.2 x 22 cms / Map (unfolded): 74 x 55 cms


Lawrence Stone’s decorative pictorial London Map and guide to the Festival of Britain published by the News Chronicle, 1951

About this piece:

Festival of Britain News Chronicle Guide to London

Colour printed folding map with verso printed letterpress, gazetteer & maps. Supplied with front of original printed map envelope with which it was originally sold. Original folds with several short splits and separations at sheet edges, mainly in blank margin and at two or three of the fold junctures within image, now expertly & invisibly repaired and reinforced with museum quality archival tissue on verso, without affecting verso letterpress. Some light toning on fold lines in lower blank margin, otherwise  fine.

Uncommon pictorial map & guide to London published as a special souvenir for the Festival of Britain in early 1951 by national newspaper, the News Chronicle, in conjunction with printers & mapmakers, George Philip & Son Ltd.  It was originally sold for a price of 2 shillings.

The former editor of the News Chronicle, Sir Gerald Barry [1898-1968], had in fact been appointed Director General of the Festival of Britain in 1948 and through his energetic & engaging character, progressive sympathies and populist leanings three year later oversaw one of the undoubted high points of British popular culture & national creativity in the immediate post-war era. The Festival of Britain described itself as “one united act of national reassessment, and one corporate reaffirmation of faith in the nation’s future”, whilst Barry famously described it as “a tonic to the nation“. Indeed, as writer Kenneth O. Morgan noted in his 1992 History of Britain since 1945, crowds…:

…flocked to the South Bank site, to wander around the Dome of Discovery, gaze at the Skylon, and generally enjoy a festival of national celebration. Up and down the land, lesser festivals enlisted much civic and voluntary enthusiasm. A people curbed by years of total war and half-crushed by austerity and gloom, showed that it had not lost the capacity for enjoying itself….Above all, the Festival made a spectacular setting as a show piece for the inventiveness and genius of British scientists and technologists.

The map itself provides a wonderfully decorative pictorial summary of 1951 London, highlighting its main tourist attractions & principal historic buildings. Much attention is also given to the Capital’s principal cultural activities and leading sporting venues and her most notable historical and literary residents.

The South Bank Exhibition space & Royal Festival Hall are shown prominently in the centre of the map whilst in the lower left can be seen the vibrantly coloured marquees, tents & attractions of the Festival Pleasure Gardens (Fun Fair) at Battersea Park.

Attractive vignette views in each corner depict Wembley Stadium, Epping Forest, Hampton Court Palace and the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich.

The map is overlaid in red with a line map of the London Underground with the locations of individual stations.

The decorative borders around the map, embellished with the coats of arms of London’s principal Boroughs, also provide an opportunity for the map’s designer, Lawrence Stone, to promote the pomp & pageantry with which London has become so closely associated. Illustrations include Oak Apple Day (29th May, commemorating the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660) at Chelsea Hospital; the traditional 4 o’clock Parade at Horse Guards; Saluting the Colours; The Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London; The annual Lord Mayor’s Show procession; The State Opening of Parliament; Horse Guards Sentries and the Changing Sentries.

Little biographical information is known about the map’s artist & designer, Lawrence Stone. His only other notable work would seem to have been a colourful pictorial map design for British Railways, in very similar style & genre to this piece, depicting the counties of Essex, Hertfordshire & Suffolk and published in about 1953.  He may perhaps be the same Lawrence Stone who worked as an illustrator & brand designer for Cadbury’s during the early 1930’s, doing much to create a distinctive corporate image for the Cadbury business at the time of company’s 1931 Centenary and to create a popular brand awareness for many of the chocolate maker’s leading products, such as Bournville Cocoa and Dairy Milk.

Refs: David Rumsey Collection