CORONATION EXHIBITION 1911

         The death of Edward 7th in May, 1910 and the subsequent delay in the Coronation must have presented Kiralfy and his fellow directors with a wonderful opportunity to stage an exhibition for all the millions of visitors expected in London for this momentous event. A contemporary account stressed the Imperial atmosphere of the Exhibition and the fact that the visitors would realise in a more vivid manner than they had ever conceived possible, the mighty heritage to which they had succeeded!

         The whole presentation of the Exhibition had been dramatically changed when compared with previous years. This time the story of the Empire was told by a series of tableaux, panoramas and dioramas, with little emphasis placed on the more formal showcases and static exhibits. The overground palaces were devoted to the British Isles and one could see everything from Shakespeare-Land to Balmoral Castle depicted in extensive dioramas in the first eight halls. The Entrance Hall in Wood Lane had been transformed into the Audience Chamber of an Indian Palace and in fact all the buildings surrounding the Court of Honour had been devoted to the Empire of India. The four buildings in the Court of Arts were also set out to depict scenes of the history and scenery of the Dominion countries.

         The largest group of buildings on the site, the original Machinery Halls, were now occupied by different exhibits. The southern wing contained exhibits on modern journalism, with historical documents and early printing presses being on display. In the northern wing the theme of the exhibition was carried on with further scenes from the far flung Empire. Starting with the Rock of Gibraltar, then passing through East and West Africa and finally finishing in the West Indies , the visitor must have been bemused with the contrasting scenes. The central section, connecting the two wings, was the only part of this section to retain the original character of the Machinery Halls as it contained photographic displays and equipment concerned with the worlds railways. In the Canadian Building , close to the Scenic Railway, the visitor could enjoy watching a band of lroquois Indians working at various trades and manufacturing articles for sale. Another new "village" had appeared on the scene, this time a Somali village was found in the shadow of the Mountain Railway. They were headed by Mohamed , who had acted as a British interpreter during the campaign against the Mad Mullah. They gave war dances and illustrations of their methods of fighting with sword and spear.

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Exhibitions

© Exhibition Study Group 2004