A Strange feature at the 1911 Festival of Empire solved.

by

Fred Peskett

 

            On some photographs and postcards of the Crystal Palace that show the Central Transept from the Terraces, there is a rather strange looking square column that can be seen between the two staircases that lead to the Royal Box. It is known that these staircases were built during 1910 for the Festival of Empire Exhibition. The column does not feature on any of the views known to have been taken prior to 1910, but it does appear on postcard views published by Bemrose and other printers for the Festival of Empire, so it must have been erected for this event.

            Postcards and photographs taken between 1914 to 1919 when the Crystal Palace was occupied by the Admiralty do not have this structure visible, so it must have been removed or demolished between 1912 to 1914. On most of the views where this column can be seen there seems to be a rectangular black plate at the top, but it is general unreadable, however, there is one postcard in the OXO Festival of Empire Series that can be deciphered with the aid of a strong magnifying lens, it reads:- “WAYGOOD LIFTS” there is further proof in the Bemrose Festival of Empire Guide with a small advert for WAYGOOD LIFTS saying  “See our display on the Terraces”. The column may have been a working model lift, it was far too small to be of any functioning use.

 

© Exhibition Study Group 2012

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