The Festival of Britain was timed to open exactly 100 years after the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park took place. In 1951, a fun fair at the Festival Gardens in Battersea on the South Bank of the Thames was part of the festival attractions. It proved so popular that it remained in operation after the close of the festival. Millions of Londoners would spend their weekends and bank holidays on the many rides and attractions which famously included the Big Dipper rollercoaster and the Water Chute. The amusement park was intended to take the public’s mind off the austerities that long followed the war – austerities that included food rationing and housing shortages. The pleasure found in escaping the worries of everyday life is memorably captured by Moore’s camera.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010